London: UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab called on the UN Human Rights Council on Monday to address the human rights violations in China stating that the international body does not “consistently” pinpoint areas of the prevalence of the most pressing human rights issues.
“Lke any institution, we know the Council is not perfect. Some members do not meet the human rights standards we vow to uphold. And the Council’s agenda does not consistently reflect where the most pressing human rights issues are. We need to address that, as well as other institutional concerns. For our part, the UK will continue to engage with all sides to find ways to do so,” Raab said at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, of which China and Russia are both members.
Raab launched a scathing attack on China where he said that the human rights situation in Xinjiang “is beyond pale”. He said that London stands with the “growing number of international partners, UN experts and NGOs” concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation “that we see in China. No one can ignore the evidence anymore.”
“We see almost daily reports now that shine a new light on China’s systematic human rights violations perpetrated against Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang. The situation in Xinjiang is beyond the pale. The reported abuses – which include torture, forced labour and forced sterilisation of women – are extreme and they are extensive,” he said.
The UK Secretary further pointed out that the draconian National Security Law imposed by Beijing is having “a chilling effect” on personal freedom.
“In Hong Kong, the rights of the people are being systematically violated. The National Security Law is a clear breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and is having a chilling effect on personal freedoms. Free and fair legislative elections must take place, with a range of opposition voices allowed to take part,” Raab said.
He also pointed out that in Tibet, the situation remains deeply concerning, with access still heavily restricted.
Raab demanded that UN mechanisms must respond called for urgent and unfettered access to Xinjiang.
“The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, or another independent fact-finding expert, must – and I repeat must – be given urgent and unfettered access to Xinjiang,” he added.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal crackdown on the ethnic community, according to a report.
Meanwhile, China imposed the draconian National Security Law in Hong Kong last year.
The law criminalises secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces and carries with it strict prison terms. It came into effect from July 1.
Since then, a number of former pro-democracy lawmakers have been arrested.