Open letter to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: OHCHR report on grave human rights violations in Xinjiang can wait no longer


March 8, 2022

Madam High Commissioner,

We, the undersigned human rights organisations, write to follow up on your commitment last year to release a report on grave ongoing human rights violations by Chinese authorities targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (the Uyghur region). The release of the report without further delay is essential – to send a message to victims and perpetrators alike that no state, no matter how powerful, is above international law or the robust independent scrutiny of your Office.

As you are aware, many of our organisations have documented how Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in the Uyghur region face systematic state-organized mass detention, torture, persecution, and other violations of a scale and nature amounting to crimes against humanity. We have repeatedly raised alarm – including to your Office – over the extreme measures taken by Chinese authorities since 2017 to root out the religious traditions, cultural practices, and local languages of the region’s Muslim ethnic groups. Carried out under the guise of fighting “terrorism”, these crimes have targeted ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Hui, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Tajiks.

In 2020, an unprecedented number of special procedures issued a landmark statement expressing concerns over human rights violations in China, including in the Uyghur region, and called for the UN to take decisive action. Treaty Bodies have also raised concerns over the situation in that region over the last five years.

In contrast to these efforts, we have been concerned by the relative silence of your Office in the face of these grave violations, aside from procedural updates on the status of negotiations to gain meaningful access to Xinjiang. In that context, we welcomed your confirmation in September last year that your Office was “finalising its assessment of the available information on allegations of serious human rights violations in [Xinjiang] with a view to making it public.” Six months later, after having been assured by your spokesperson in December the report would be released in a matter of weeks, the world is still awaiting that report.

Victims and survivors should not have to wait any longer. They and their families deserve justice and accountability, and need to know that your Office stands with them.

We urge you to fulfil your mandate, release the report without further delay, and brief members and observers of the UN Human Rights Council on its contents as a matter of urgency.

Accountability can wait no longer.


  1. 21Wilberforce
  2. ACAT-France
  3. Access Accountability
  4. Alberta Uyghur Association
  5. Alliance des Avocats pour les Droits de l’Homme 
  6. Alliance for Vietnam’s Democracy
  7. ALTSEAN-Burma
  8. American Alliance for Automotive Corporate Social Responsibility
  9. American Muslim Bar Association
  10. Amnesty International
  11. Arakan Rohingya National Organisation
  12. ARTICLE 19 
  13. Asia Democracy Network
  14. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  15. Australian East Turkestan Association
  16. Australian Uyghur Association 
  17. Australian Uyghur Tangritagh Women’s Association
  18. Austria Uyghur Association
  19. Bauhinias For Freedom 
  20. Bay Area Friends of Tibet
  21. Be Slavery Free
  22. Belgium Uyghur Association
  23. Blue Crescent Humanitarian Aid Association
  24. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  25. Campaign for Uyghurs 
  26. Canadian Coalition Against Communisms 
  27. Carleton University 
  28. China Against the Death Penalty 
  29. China Aid 
  30. China Change
  31. Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness 華人基督徒公義團契
  32. Chinese Human Rights Defenders
  33. Chulalongkorn University’s Student Union
  34. Church of Scientology National Affairs Office
  36. Coalition Burkinabè des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (CBDDH)
  37. Coalition des défenseurs des droits humains du Benin
  38. Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet – CAT
  39. Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention
  40. CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
  41. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
  42. Dialogue China
  43. Dutch Uyghur Human Rights Foundation
  44. East Turkestan Press and Media Association
  45. East Turkestan Union of Muslim Scholars
  46. East Turkistan Association in Finland
  47. East Turkistan Association of Canada 
  48. East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association
  49. East Turkistan Entrepreneur Tradesmen and Industrialists Businessmen Association
  50. East Turkistan Human Rights Watch
  51. East Turkistan New Generation Movement
  52. East Turkistan Nuzugum Culture and Family Association
  53. East Turkistan Sports and Development Association
  54. East Turkistan Union in Europe
  55. Eastern Turkistan Foundation
  56. Engage Action
  57. European East Turkistan Education Association
  58. EXCUBITUSdhe
  59. Family Research Council
  60. Fédération Euro-méditerranéenne contre les disparitions Forcées
  61. Federation for a Democratic China
  62. Finnish Uyghur Culture Center
  63. Frankfurt stands with Hongkong
  64. Fundacion Aguaclara
  65. GAYa NUSANTARA Foundation
  66. Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities
  67. Green Advocates International (Liberia)
  68. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  69. Hebrew Congregation of Somers
  70. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
  71. Hirschfeld-Eddy-Stiftung
  72. Hong Kong Committee in Norway
  73. Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC)
  74. Hong Kong Global Connect
  75. Human Asia
  76. Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  77. Human Rights Watch
  78. Human Trafficking Search
  79. Humanitarian China 
  80. Ilham Tohti Initiative
  81. Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council
  82. International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute 
  83. International Campaign For Tibet
  84. International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC)
  85. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  86. International Pen Uyghur Center
  87. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  88. International Society for Human Rights, Chapter Munich
  89. International Support for Uyghurs
  90. International Tibet Network
  91. International Union of East Turkistan Organizations
  92. International Uyghur Human Right and Democracy Foundation
  93. IRPOO Siberia without torture
  94. Isa Yusup Alptekin Foundation
  95. Islamic Community Milli Gorus
  96. Islamic Information & Services Foundation Malaysia
  97. Japan Uyghur Association
  98. Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom 
  99. Jewish World Watch 
  100. Judicial Reform Foundation
  101. Justice For All
  102. Justice for Uyghurs – Switzerland
  103. Lady Lawyer Foundation
  104. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada 
  105. Le Comité pour la Liberté à Hong-Kong
  106. Liberty and Democracy Advocacy Club University of Calgary
  107. Malaysia4Uyghur
  108. Mamatjan Nayup 
  109. Minaret Foundation
  110. Minh Van Foundation
  111. Minority Rights Group International (MRG)
  112. Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
  113. Mulmangcho
  114. National Committee of Democratic Party of China
  115. Netherlands for Hong Kong
  116. No Business With Genocide
  117. Northern California Hong Kong Club
  118. Norwegian Uyghur Committee
  119. Omer Uygur Foundation
  120. Peace Catalyst International
  121. People for Successful Corean Reunification (PSCORE)
  122. People’s Watch 
  123. Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights)
  124. Planet Ally
  126. René Cassin, the Jewish voice for human rights
  127. Safeguard Defenders
  128. Satuq Bugrakhan Foundation of Science and Civilization
  129. SAVE TIBET Austria
  130. Silk Road Peace Project
  131. Society for Threatened Peoples
  132. Society Union of Uyghur National Association
  133. Solidarité Chine, Paris
  134. Solidarity Sisters Network of Liberia (SoSNoL)
  135. Stepping Stones 
  136. Stop Uyghur Genocide Australia 
  137. Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada
  138. Sweden Uyghur Education Union
  139. Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association
  140. Switzerland East Turkestan Association
  141. The Community Human Rights Promotion and Protection Association – ACPDH 
  142. The International Women’s Alliance for Family Institution and Quality Education 
  143. The Lesbian and Gay Association of Liberia (LEGAL)
  144. The Rights Practice
  145. Tibet Action Institute 
  146. Tibet Justice Center
  147. Tibet Solidarity
  148. Tibet Support Group Ireland 
  149. Tibetan Youth Association in Europe
  150. Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG)
  151. Uigur Society of the Kyrgyz Republic
  152. Umer Uyghur Trust
  153. Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam
  154. United Council of Vietnamese Homeland and Overseas
  155. United Macedonian Diaspora
  156. Uyghur Academy
  157. Uyghur Academy Australia
  158. Uyghur Academy Canada
  159. Uyghur Academy Europe
  160. Uyghur Academy Foundation
  161. Uyghur Academy Japan
  162. Uyghur Academy USA
  163. Uyghur American Association
  164. Uyghur Association of Victoria, Australia 
  165. Uyghur Center for Human Rights and Democracy
  166. Uyghur Cultural and Education Union in Germany
  167. Uyghur Education Union
  168. Uyghur Human Rights Project
  169. Uyghur Mosque
  170. Uyghur Projects Foundation
  171. Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund
  172. Uyghur Research Institute
  173. Uyghur Right’s Advocacy Project 
  174. Uyghur Science and Civilization Research Foundation
  175. Uyghur Support Group Netherlands
  176. Uyghur Transitional Justice Database
  177. Uyghur U.K. Association
  178. Uyghur Youth Union in Kazakhstan
  179. Uzbekistan Uyghur Culture Center
  180. Victoria Uyghur Association
  181. Viet Democratic Side’s International Forum
  182. Vietnam Helsinki Human Rights Committee
  183. Vietnam Human Rights Day – May 11 Organization
  184. Vietnam Human Rights Network
  185. Vietnamese Nationalist Party
  186. Visual Artists Guild
  187. Witness Radio – Uganda
  188. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
  189. World Uyghur Congress
  190. World Uyghur Congress Foundation
  191. World Without Genocide
  192. Young leadership for social change network