ITEM 4 ORAL STATEMENT DURING THE 43TH SESSION OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
World Uyghur Congress, 13 March 2020
During the 43th session of the UN Human Rights Council an Item 4 Oral Statement was made on behalf of European Union of Jewish Students regarding the arbitrary detention of 1.8-3 Million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and others.
The full text of the speech can be read below:
Madam/Mr. Vice President, I am speaking today on behalf of the European Union of Jewish Students.
A crime against humanity is occuring in the People’s Republic of China. For about three years, an estimated 1-3 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and others have been arbitrarily detained in concentration camps by the Chinese government.
These camps are part of a broader strategy to totally assimilate and control the Uyghur people. Widespread, serious and systematic human rights violations including the use of torture, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances and the denial of basic rights and freedoms make this one of the worst human rights crises in the world today.
Given the gravity of this situation, we would assume it would be at the top of the agenda for the Human Rights Council, yet the response has been deeply disappointing. Millions of people are being held against their will in camps and still nothing has been done.
This issue has become a litmus test for the UN and the international community’s commitment to human rights, one that we are failing miserably. We have wondered how those in the past could have possibly looked the other way while atrocities were being committed, but this is exactly what is happening now. After every great tragedy the UN and the international community say “never again” but when will they actually mean it?
We need to realize what is at stake, the very concept of human rights is now being actively undermined by the Chinese government and others in the UN. Dystopian security and surveillance technology tested on the Uyghur people is being exported around the world. The values and principles that form the backbone of our international system are under threat. What is happening to the Uyghur people in China is having significant implications for all of us.
We are reaching a critical point in human history and the actions of the UN and its member states will play a crucial part in deciding what course we will take. I urge this Council to do what is right, to do what is human, and finally take meaningful action to close the camps and stand up for human rights.