UHRP Welcomes UN Joint Statement on Forced Assimilation of Uyghur Children in China’s State-Run Boarding Schools


For immediate release
September 26, 2023, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Contact: Omer Kanat, +1 (202) 790-1795, Peter Irwin, +1 (646) 906-7722

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) welcomes today’s joint statement by UN experts expressing “grave concern” over forced assimilation of Uyghurs, and calls on High Commissioner, Volker Türk, to convene governments to address ongoing crimes against humanity and genocide.

“Uyghur children are torn from their parents as state policy. It’s past time for UN member states to recognize this is a genocide,” said UHRP Executive Director, Omer Kanat

“UN member states should vote ‘no’ to China’s bid for re-election to the UN Human Rights Council next month,” said UHRP Associate Director for Research and Advocacy, Peter Irwin.

In the statement issued today, the group of UN experts expressed “grave concern” over information they received regarding an “exponential increase” in the number of state-run boarding schools in East Turkistan.

The experts wrote that the boarding school system “fails to provide education in the children’s mother tongue and forcibly separates Uyghur and other minority Muslim children from their families and communities.” 

China has consistently ignored repeated requests from more than a dozen UN experts for country visits in recent years. The three experts supporting the statement, who cover minority rights, cultural rights, and freedom of religion, have lodged multiple requests for visits over the last two decades without success.

China is running for re-election to the Human Rights Council in October. Despite running unopposed, UN member states should not vote in favor of China, given that the country has failed to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, as is required of Council members.

UHRP thanks Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues; Ms. Alexandra Xanthaki, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, and Ms. Farida Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on education for their work to investigate and call attention to the Chinese government’s international human rights crimes against Uyghurs.

Read more: 

Government Boarding Schools as a Tool of Genocide in the 21st Century: Uyghur and Tibetan Family Separation | Event | June 26, 2022

Coerced Kinship: The Pomegranate Flower Plan and the Forced Assimilation of Uyghur Children, January 27, 2022

One Year After Historic UN Report, UHRP Calls on UN Human Rights Office to Stop China’s Impunity for Grave International Crimes, August 31, 2023

Parallel Submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), April 13, 2023

Parallel Submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, February 9, 2023

UNESCO and its Members Must End Complicity in China’s Cultural Cleansing of Uyghurs—New UHRP Report, February 9, 2023