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Over 220 groups urgently demand UN High Commissioner immediately postpone her visit to China

Over 220 groups urgently demand UN High Commissioner immediately postpone her visit to China
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Press Briefing Invitation – For Immediate Release
29 April 2022
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

Activists warn the upcoming visit risks aiding Beijing’s attempts to whitewash repression against Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hongkongers, Southern Mongolians and others

We, a coalition of over 220 Tibetan, Uyghur, Hongkonger, Southern Mongolian and Chinese democracy groups, are demanding the High Commissioner reverse her current plan to visit China or risk walking into a propaganda minefield laid out by the Chinese Communist Party.

Reports suggest that the UN High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, is due to visit China in less than two weeks, and that her advance team arrived in China on 25 April. 

To date, she has not met with any of the affected communities despite multiple requests and the overwhelming evidence of genocide and rampant human rights abuses (including widespread torture and sexual abuse) nor has she met with wider civil society organisations for specific briefings on Beijing’s crackdown. 

Ms Bachelet has also ignored all offers to meet with survivors from the Uyghur camps, Tibetan former political prisoners or Chinese democracy activists linked to the Tiananmen Square Massacre. She has simultaneously remained silent on the unprecedented statement by over 50 UN experts calling for “urgent” and “decisive measures” to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of those living under Chinese rule

During her time in office, the current High Commissioner has failed to raise any concern about the situation in occupied Tibet, which has not been mentioned as a visit location, despite being ranked as the least free place in the world for the second year in a row. Hong Kong and Southern Mongolia are also missing from her list of visit locations though both places have witnessed historic protests and subsequent crackdowns on human rights and freedom in the past two years. 

Securing access to these locations is more imperative than ever given the scale of the crackdown, which has largely taken place behind closed doors. Tibet has been sealed off to her office since 1998, neither East Turkistan, Southern Mongolia nor Hong Kong have ever been visited by a High Commissioner, and China itself has not seen a High Commissioner visit since 2005. As some of the most restricted areas in the world, these locations are desperately in need of independent human rights monitoring and investigation and the Chinese authorities are required to grant the High Commissioner access to them.

Compounding this failure to do her duty, the High Commissioner has also failed on her commitment from 2021 to release a report on the grave human rights violations targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities in East Turkistan [CH: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region]. To continue to withhold the release of this urgent report ahead of her visit to China raises further concern about her ability to offer robust independent scrutiny during her visit. 

Tibetan, Uyghur, Hongkonger, Southern Mongolian and Chinese communities are urgently calling for crucial guarantees that they expect to be met ahead of Bachelet’s visit, including: 

  • Release of the OHCHR report on serious human rights violations in East Turkistan;
  • Assurances of secure meetings with independent civil society organisations, human rights defenders and survivors of China’s human rights abuses including groups in the diaspora, in advance of the visit;
  • Transparency about the measures taken to date to ensure unfettered access to all areas including Tibet, East Turkistan, Southern Mongolia and Hong Kong.

Without any assurances that her office has secured meaningful and unfettered access, the undersigned organisations are calling for an immediate postponement of the trip. 

Proceeding with the visit under such ill-negotiated terms and without adequate briefing from those affected by China’s human rights violations, Ms Bachelet risks jeopardising a rare opportunity for independent human rights monitoring and grants Beijing yet another opportunity to further whitewash its repression against Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Southern Mongolians, Chinese dissidents and others.

Lead signatories:

Campaign For Uyghurs

China Against the Death Penalty

Free Tibet

Hong Kong Watch

International Campaign for Tibet

International Tibet Network

Southern Mongolian Human Rights Center

Students for a Free Tibet

Tibet Action Institute

Tibet Initiative Deutschland

Tibet Justice Center

Tibetan Youth Association in Europe

Uyghur Human Rights Project

We The Hongkongers

World Uyghur Congress

On behalf of the following 220+ global rights groups and communities:

Association Drôme Ardèche-Tibet
Aide aux Refugies Tibetains
Alaskans for Tibet
Association Cognizance Tibet
Amigos del Tíbet Chile
Amigos del Tibet El Salvador
Alberta Uyghur Association
Amigos de Tibet Colombia
Asociación Cultural Tibetano Costarricense
Anterrashtriya Bharat – Tibbet Sahyog Samiti
Asociación Cultural Peruano Tibetana
Associazione Italia-Tibet
Australia Tibet Council
Australian East Turkestan Association
Australian Uyghur Association
Australian Uyghur Tangritagh Women’s Association
Austria Uyghur Association
Bay Area Friends of Tibet
Befria Hongkong
Belgium Uyghur Association
Bharrat Tibbat Sahyog Manch, India
Bharrat Tibbat Samvad Manch, India
Blue Crescent Humanitarian Aid Association
Boston Tibet Network
Briancon05 Urgence Tibet
Campaign For Uyghurs
Canada Tibet Committee
Casa del Tibet
Casa Tibet México
Centro De Cultura Tibetana, Brazil
China Human Rights Accountability Center
Circle of Friends
Comite de Apoyo al Tibet
Comité pour la Liberté à Hong-Kong
Committee of 100 for Tibet
Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India
Czechs Support Tibet
DC4HK (Washingtonians Supporting Hong Kong)
Dream for Children, Japan
Dutch Uyghur Human Rights Foundation
East Turkestan Press and Media Association
East Turkestan Union of Muslim Scholars
East Turkistan Association in Finland
East Turkistan Association of Canada
East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association
East Turkistan Entrepreneur Tradesmen and
Industrialists Businessmen Associatio
East Turkistan Human Rights Watch
East Turkistan New Generation Movement
East Turkistan Nuzugum Culture and Family Association
East Turkistan Sports and Development Association
East Turkistan Union in Europe
Eastern Turkistan Foundation
EcoTibet Ireland
European East Turkistan Education Association
Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.
Finnish Uyghur Culture Center
Foundation for Universal Responsibility of the Dalai Lama
Free Indo-Pacific Alliance
Free Tibet Fukuoka
Friends of Tibet Costa Rica
Friends of Tibet in Finland
Friends of Tibet New Zealand
Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete, Portugal
Hong Kong Committee in Norway
Hong Kong Democracy Council
Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles
Hong Kong Professional Network
Hong Kong Social Action Movements in Boston
Hong Kongers in San Diego
Hong Kongers in San Francisco Bay Area
Hongkongers at McGill
Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan
Humanitarian China
Ilham Tohti Initiative
India Tibet Friendship Society
Institute for China’s Democratic Transition
International Pen Uyghur Center
International Society of Human Rights, Munich Chapter
International Support for Uyghurs
International Tibet Independence Movement
International union of East Turkistan Organizations
International Uyghur Human Right and Democracy Foundation
Isa Yusup Alptekin Foundation
Islamic Community Milli Gorus
Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People
Japan Association of Monks for Tibet (Super Sangha)
Japan Uyghur Association
Justice for Uyghurs
Le Club Français Paraguay
Les Amis du Tibet Belgium
Les Amis du Tibet Luxembourg
Lion Rock Café
Lions Des Neiges Mont Blanc, France
Lungta Association Belgium
Maison des Himalayas
Maison du Tibet – Tibet Info
National Campaign for Tibetan Support, India
National Democratic Party of Tibet

Netherlands for Hong Kong
Northern California Hong Kong Club
Norwegian Uyghur Committee
Objectif Tibet
Omer Uygur Foundation
Passeport Tibetain
Perth Anti-CCP Association
Phagma Drolma-Arya Tara
RangZen:Movimento Tibete Livre, Brazil
Roof of the World Foundation, Indonesia
Sakya Trinley Ling
Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet
Satuq Bugrakhan Foundation of Science and Civilization
Save Tibet Foundation
Save Tibet, Austria
Sierra Friends of Tibet
Society for Threatened Peoples International
Society Union of Uyghur National Association
Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada
Students for a Free Tibet Canada
Students for a Free Tibet Denmark
Students for a Free Tibet France
Students for a Free Tibet India
Students for a Free Tibet Japan
Students for a Free Tibet UK
Sweden Uyghur Education Union
Swedish Tibet Committee
Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association
Switzerland East Turkestan Association
Taiwan Friends of Tibet
Tashi Delek Bordeaux
The Norwegian Tibet Committee
The Youth Liberation Front of Tibet, Mongolia and Turkestan
Tibet Action Group of Western Australia
Tibet cesky
Tibet Committee of Fairbanks
Tibet Group, Panama
Tibet Lives, India
Tibet Mx
Tíbet Patria Libre, Uruguay
Tibet Rescue Initiative in Africa
Tibet Society
Tibet Society of South Africa
Tibet Solidarity
Tibet Support Committee Denmark
Tibet Support Group Adelaide
Tibet Support Group Ireland
Tibet Support Group Kenya
Tibet Support Group Kiku, Japan
Tibet Support Group Netherlands
Tibetan Association of Germany
Tibetan Association of Ithaca
Tibetan Association of Northern California
Tibetan Association of Philadelphia
Tibetan Association of Washington DC
Tibetan Community Austria
Tibetan Community in Britain
Tibetan Community in Denmark
Tibetan Community in Ireland
Tibetan Community in Italy
Tibetan Community of Italy
Tibetan Community Queensland
Tibetan Community Sweden
Tibetan Community Victoria
Tibetan Cultural Association Quebec
Tibetan Programme of The Other Space Foundation
Tibetan Women’s Association (Central)
Tibetans of Mixed Heritage
Tibetisches Zentrum Hamburg
Toronto Association  for Democracy in China
TSG – Slovenia
U.S. Tibet Committee
Uigur Society of the Kyrgyz Republic
Umer Uyghur Trust
US HongKongers Club
Uyghur Academy
Uyghur Academy Australia
Uyghur Academy Canada
Uyghur Academy Europe
Uyghur Academy Foundation
Uyghur Academy Japan
Uyghur Academy USA
Uyghur American Association
Uyghur Association of Victoria
Uyghur Center for Human Rights and Democracy
Uyghur Cultural and Education Union in Germany
Uyghur Education Union
Uyghur Projects Foundation
Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund
Uyghur Research Institute
Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project
Uyghur Science and Civilization Research Foundation
Uyghur Support Group Netherlands
Uyghur Transitional Justice Database
Uyghur U.K. Association
Uyghur Youth Union in Kazakhstan
Uyghurischer Verein Schweiz
Uyghuristan Republican Party
Uzbekistan Uyghur Culture Center
Victoria Uyghur Association
Voces Tibet
World League for Freedom and Democracy
World Uyghur Congress Foundation