The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Friday (Nov 25) called on the Peoples’ Republic of China to immediately investigate all allegations of human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), including those of torture, ill-treatment, sexual violence, forced labour, enforced disappearances and deaths in custody.
Acting under its early warning and urgent action procedure, the Committee also called on China to immediately release all individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in the XUAR, whether in so-called Vocational Education and Training Centres (VETCs) or other detention facilities, and to provide relatives of those detained or disappeared with detailed information about their status and well-being, said a statement issued at UN in Geneva.
It also urged the State party to ensure that victims of human rights violations, including Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim communities, are provided with adequate and effective remedies and reparation;
The UN committee recommended that the China undertake a full review of its legal framework governing national security, counter terrorism and minority rights in the XUAR to ensure its full compliance with its obligations as a party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
It also urged the State party to effectively implement its 2018 recommendations, as well as the 2015 Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture, and the UN Human Rights Office’s assessment of human rights concerns in XUAR of August 2022.
It reminded that all States of their responsibility to cooperate to bring to an end through lawful means any serious breach of human rights obligations, in particular serious violations of the peremptory norm of the prohibition of racial discrimination.
CERD’s early warning and urgent action procedure primarily aims to consider situations which might lead to conflicts in order to take appropriate preventive actions to avoid full scale violations of human rights under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
In 2018, the Committee reviewed the periodic reports submitted by China and issued Concluding Observations in which it expressed a number of concerns, including about human rights violations of Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in the XUAR. As requested by the Committee, China submitted its follow-up report to those Concluding Observations in October 2019.
In 2022, due to the lack of improvement in the human rights situation in Xinjiang, the Committee decided to prepare and to adopt, at its current 108th session, a decision under its early warning and urgent action procedure.