In an open letter sent to heads of government missions to the UN in Geneva, Human Rights in China joins 39 other NGOs to press for a UN resolution to address the deteriorating human rights situation in China.
The NGOs call for governments to use the upcoming session of the Human Rights Council (February 25-March 22, 2019) as an opportunity to push with “one voice”: for accountability for the steeply worsening rights abuses in China which have been gaining increasing international attention.
Two reviews of China’s rights practices at the UN last year, in particular—by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and China’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR)—highlighted deeply concerning developments, including the mass internment of Uyghur and other ethnic Muslims in so-called “vocational retraining camps,” in gross violation of religious and cultural rights; the broadening control over information and expression especially online in the name of cybersecurity; the continued persecution of human rights lawyers and defenders; and the erosion of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong, in violation of the “one country, two systems” principle.
Reaching beyond its borders, China has also been waging a sustained challenge to the existing international human rights framework, which is based on the principle of the universality of human rights. At the Human Rights Council last March, China successfully led the passage of a resolution that advances an alternative model that is based on “equal treatment of all States” and “mutually beneficial cooperation” among states—in an attempt to conceptually shift the “respect” for human rights to “respect” for states. (See “Promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights.”)
HRIC, together with the co-signatories of this appeal, urge governments to stand firm on the core principles of our existing international human rights system—and send a clear an unequivocal message to China that national conditions cannot be used as an excuse for violations of universal human rights norms.