UHRP Welcomes UN Expert’s Report Citing Possible Crimes Against Humanity
August 16, 2022 | 2:00 p.m. EDT
For Immediate Release
Contact: Omer Kanat +1 (202) 790-1795, Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) urges the UN Office on Genocide Prevention to immediately assess and respond to the treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples, in light of a UN expert’s report asserting that Chinese government actions may amount to enslavement as a crime against humanity.
“The case against the Chinese government at the UN level continues to build,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “It should now be impossible for UN agencies and member states to ignore atrocities of this magnitude.”
The report, released by the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, finds that “forced labour among Uighur [sic], Kazakh and other ethnic minorities in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing” has been occurring in the Uyghur region.
The report concludes that “given the nature and extent of powers exercised over affected workers during forced labour […] some instances may amount to enslavement as a crime against humanity,” citing factors including “surveillance, abusive living and working conditions, restriction of movement through internment, threats, physical and/or sexual violence.”
The report also notes that “Similar arrangements have also been identified in the Tibet Autonomous Region, where an extensive labour transfer programme has shifted mainly farmers, herders and other rural workers into low-skilled and low-paid employment.”
In a report this year, the International Labour Organization Committee of Experts also expressed “deep concern” over the Chinese government policies targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim majority peoples, making specific reference to forced labor.
UHRP is calling on the UN Office on Genocide Prevention to fulfill its mandate to “alert relevant actors where there is a risk of genocide, and to advocate and mobilize for appropriate action,” and for UN member states to respond accordingly.
UHRP continues to urge the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to release her long-awaited report on human rights abuses in East Turkistan and we reiterate our joint call for Ms. Bachelet to uphold a “principled and coherent response to China’s human rights crisis.”
Uyghur organizations call on the ILO to denounce Uyghur forced labor, November 10, 2021