Joint statement to the 56th session of the UN Human Rights council

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Joint statement to the 56th session of the UN Human Rights council

Under Item 6: Interactive Dialogue on the adoption of China’s 4th Universal Periodic Review

Mr. President,

This is a joint statement, in solidarity with the victims of human rights violations committed by the Chinese government.

Numerous UPR recommendations echo the long-standing, deep concerns of dozens of UN experts and committees raised since China’s last review, including: stopping lengthy, arbitrary detention on national security grounds of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists; ending Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL) and all other forms of enforced disappearances; putting an end to the cultural, religious persecution of Uyghurs and Tibetans; repealing Hong Kong’s draconian National Security Law; and respecting the rights of women and the LGBTI community.

We regret that China dismissed 30% of recommendations received – unsurprisingly related to the plight of Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers, feminist and LGBTI activists, human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists – an increase from the 18% already noted five years ago. This shows a blatant disregard for human rights principles. The claim that some are ‘already implemented’ is nothing short of deceitful, in light of damning UN findings.

Many countries, including from the Global South, called for the implementation of UN Treaty Body recommendations. To this, Beijing stated it ‘opposed [Treaty Body] recommendations that are based on false information’.

Beijing scrapped calls for unrestricted access to the country for UN experts: if no abuses are being committed, then why not accept the 15 pending visit requests from UN experts?

Beijing’s facade as a constructive actor at the UN is shattered by its acts of reprisals against human rights defenders throughout this UPR cycle, and by attempts to block NGO access to this very room. We remind this Council that Cao Shunli died for trying to take part in this same review process ten years ago.

Dear Council members,

How can this record be reconciled with any attempt to become a constructive, reliable multilateral actor?

We are at a crossroads.

We urge China to genuinely engage with the UN human rights system to enact meaningful reform, and ensure all individuals and peoples enjoy internationally protected human rights. Recommendations from the OHCHR Xinjiang report, UN Treaty Bodies, and UN Special Rapporteurs chart the way for this desperately needed change.

In the absence of genuine efforts, it is equally imperative that this Council establishes a monitoring and reporting mechanism as repeatedly called for by over 40 UN experts since 2020.

Thank you,

Signatory organisations (with ECOSOC consultative status):

Anti-Slavery International

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)


Human Rights Watch

International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International PEN

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

Signatory organisations (without ECOSOC consultative status):

Campaign for Uyghurs

China Aid Association

Chinese Human Rights Defenders

China Rainbow Observation

Freedom United

Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect

Hong Kong Democracy Council

Hong Kong Watch

Human Rights in China

International Campaign for Tibet

International Tibet Network

Lawyers for Lawyers

Students for a Free Tibet

The Rights Practice

Tibet Action Institute

藏青会欧洲分部(Tibet Youth Association in Europe)

维吾尔人权项目(Uyghur Human Rights Project)

世界维吾尔代表大会(World Uyghur Congress)

民间司法改革基金会(Judicial Reform Foundation)

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