WUC Program Manager’s Statement to the 49th Human Rights Council

 
During item 3 at the 49th Human Rights Council session, WUC Program and Advocacy Manager, Zumretay Arkin, urged the High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, to publish her report on the human rights situation in the Uyghur Region, and called on Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, to join the upcoming visit to the region.
 

Mr. President,

I am speaking on behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples.

We welcome the announcement of the High Commissioner about the upcoming visit to the Uyghur Region. However, we remain highly concerned about the lack of transparency around such a visit. 

The myriad of severe human rights violations in the region has been raised on so many occasions by members states, UN special procedures, treaty bodies, and civil society organisations. 

Survivors, now living abroad have shared their stories of brutal oppression and violence they have faced, particularly women who have been victims of sexual and gender-based violence inside and outside the camps.

As an Uyghur human rights defender, I am worried about my own relatives, with whom I have lost communication since 2017. What crimes have our family members committed?

In this context, we wish to see the High Commissioner engage with the Uyghur community and civil society ahead of her visit, and listen to our demands. This visit can only be credible if it is complemented with an independent assessment of the situation. 

We, therefore, urge the High Commissioner to publish her report on the human rights situation in the Uyghur Region, and call on the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism to join the upcoming visit to the region. 

Thank you.