UN Releases Long-Awaited Report on Xinjiang, Must Now Act to Stop Uyghur Genocide
Yesterday, after years of delay and on the final day of High Commissioner Bachelet’s tenure in office, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released the long-awaited UN report on the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
The report details what it calls “serious human rights violations” and concludes that the “extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups…may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”
“While we welcome the long-overdue release of the UN report on the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, we call on the Human Rights Council to immediately investigate the allegations during the upcoming session in September and to hold the Chinese government to account. The UN has so far failed to hold Beijing accountable for the genocide it is perpetrating against Uyghurs. We also call on the United States and the free world to sanction the officials responsible,” said Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, President and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC).
Heavily citing the work of VOC and our Senior Fellow in China Studies Dr. Adrian Zenz, the report details the scope of human rights violations against Uyghurs, including the nature and extent of the internment of Uyghurs, and the intent of the officials responsible as evidenced by the internment data and Chinese Communist Party speeches released by VOC in the Xinjiang Police Files.
“The UN report is good and has a strong conclusion stating that serious human rights violations have taken place and may constitute crimes against humanity” said Dr. Adrian Zenz. “It touches on almost all aspects of the atrocity from forced labor, to birth prevention, to sexual violence, to the camps. However, the report should have been stronger on forced labor, birth control, and sterilization given the evidence that has been made publicly available. But it is a good start.”
On May 24, VOC released the Xinjiang Police Files containing thousands of images of Uyghurs detained by XUAR authorities, detailed information about the security and operations of the internment camps, and incriminating speeches of Chinese Communist Party officials. The unprecedented materials were obtained from the largest and most significant leak of internal documents from Xinjiang police networks, consisting of tens of thousands of documents. The new evidence incriminates multiple Chinese government officials at the highest levels of the central government.
In a 121-page response to the UN report, the Chinese government claimed that VOC had “openly advocated cyber theft,” thus indirectly implying that the incriminating material obtained in the Xinjiang Police Files is authentic.
We are deeply concerned by reports that the critical section of the UN report dealing with forced sterilization was watered down during the final hours under pressure from the Chinese government. It is widely known that Beijing lobbied heavily against the release of the report, including by circulating a letter warning the High Commissioner against releasing the report, which makes its release even more significant. VOC and Dr. Zenz’s groundbreaking research demonstrating a systematic campaign of forced sterilization and “population optimization” of Uyghurs formed a key component of the evidentiary basis for the genocide determinations by the United States government and lawmakers in seven other countries.
We urge all UN Member States to formally recognize the genocide against Uyghurs, take decisive action to hold Beijing to account including sanctions on the officials responsible, and prohibit their businesses from importing forced labor products from Xinjiang, particularly the European Union which is currently considering such a ban.