As Volker Türk assumes his office as the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights today, Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) urges the High Commissioner to be a principled and vocal advocate for the Uyghurs and other Turkic groups suffering China’s Uyghur genocide. It is crucial for the new high commissioner to address the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) abuses against Uyghurs, which was highlighted in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report, saying China could be committing crimes against humanity in East Turkistan, called the “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region” by China.
Today he stated “Human rights are humanity’s common language. We need a human rights system that speaks to every human being.” To put action behind these words, he must act on his authority as head of the UN Human Rights Council to launch a human rights investigation. The new high commissioner must use this investigatory power, which has previously been neglected. The most effective tools to combat China’s crimes against Uyghurs are a thorough investigation and a tough stance on these abuses. Being the world’s chief human rights advocate, the high commissioner’s primary leverage should be investigations, public reports, and public condemnations.
Executive Director Rushan Abbas said today “The OHCHR’s critical report detailing China’s crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in East Turkistan must be acted upon at once. High Commissioner Türk must advocate for a Human Rights Council-mandated investigation. A strong and vocal high commissioner is critical to ending these atrocities. The reputation of the OHCHR rests on Türk’s actions against genocide.”
CFU asks Volker Türk to act swiftly as China commits human rights violations and crimes against humanity. It is vital for Türk to stand up to authoritarian regimes like the People’s Republic of China publicly. The UN must uphold its founding principles, as well as the 2005 Responsibility to Protect principle signed by governments across the world. Defending oppressed peoples, including Uyghurs, is a paramount task for the UN and especially so for the Human Rights Council. Millions of Uyghurs and other Turkic groups suffering genocide need an advocate on their side to confront the genocidal Chinese regime without fear or hesitation.