CFU PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 5:30 PM ET
Sabrina Sohail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) is deeply troubled by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk’s recent remarks he delivered during a UN press conference on May 24 in Geneva. We find the High Commissioner’s failure to mention the Uyghur genocide and underline the Chinese regime’s crimes against humanity to be deeply concerning and in need of immediate clarification.
In his recent remarks, High Commissioner Türk expressed concern about the shrinking civic space globally, “including in China, where there has been a spate of sentences against human rights defenders based on laws that are at variance with international human rights law.”
The High Commissioner’s recent remarks stand in stark contrast to less than a year ago when all Uyghurs, human rights defenders, and nations who uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights lauded the High Commissioner’s Office for not relenting to China’s pressure and speaking the truth on the Uyghur genocide with the release of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) special report. It is disheartening that the High Commissioner made no mention of China’s crimes against humanity, including the Uyghur genocide, one of the most severe human rights crises in modern history.
In August 2022, OHCHR released a sobering report on human rights practices in East Turkistan. The report confirmed human rights atrocities committed by China against Uyghurs and other Turkic people, including mass arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence in China’s so-called re-education camps, mass surveillance, forced labor programs, retaliation against human rights defenders, sterilization of Uyghur women and forced suppression of birth rates, as well as family separation and forced removal of children from parental care. Noting the gravity of the abuses, the report determined that China’s brutal oppression “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”
Executive Director Rushan Abbas said that the High Commissioner’s failure to address the Uyghur crisis in his remarks came as a profound disappointment against the backdrop of the UN High Commissioner’s August 2022 report on the gross human rights violations in East Turkistan. “I am deeply concerned that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights appears to be backtracking from highlighting what his office declared to be potential ‘crimes against humanity,” Abbas noted. “The lapse of memory regarding the plight of Uyghurs, who are subjected to genocide, forced labor, and cultural assimilation, is deeply troubling.”
“We urge High Commissioner Türk and the UN to clarify their position immediately as the plight of the Uyghur people cannot be ignored or overlooked, as they face systemic oppression, arbitrary detention, and a relentless assault on their cultural identity. China must be condemned for its ongoing Uyghur genocide in every discussion on human rights. Failing to do so sends a dangerous message to the CCP that they have the freedom to act without facing consequences,” she added.
CFU calls on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to clarify his position on the Uyghur genocide, and actively work towards holding the Chinese government accountable for its crimes. It is imperative that the international community unites in solidarity to condemn China’s actions to ensure justice and protection for the Uyghur people.