The special session or mechanism that 45 UN experts called for today to monitor and report on human rights in China must include Tibet, said the International Campaign for Tibet.

“We welcome this timely and explicit call for governments to act on the mounting evidence suggesting China may have committed crimes against humanity in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” said ICT, an advocacy group promoting human rights and democratic freedoms for the Tibetan people.

“The clear call by 45 independent UN human rights experts for a special session or a mechanism to monitor and report on the human rights situation is truly urgent, given the Chinese government has been committing gross violations with impunity across the country. It is sad that this urgent call had to be repeated two years after the first joint statement was released in June 2020.

“Tibetans are confronted with numerous forms of discrimination and abuse that have been institutionalized in the Chinese system and life in China, with relatives and friends arbitrarily detained, disappeared and often tortured for peaceful expressions of opinion or faith.

“A serious assessment of China’s human rights violations is long overdue, and we hope countries will act on this urgent call for a special mechanism to thoroughly and regularly investigate human rights in China. Such a mechanism and assessment must include Tibet.”

Experts’ statement

On Sept. 7 in Geneva, 45 UN experts released a statement supporting the recent assessment by the UN Human Rights Office of human rights abuses in Xinjiang (which Uyghurs know as East Turkestan).

The UN experts argue the Xinjiang report, released Aug. 31, was “comprehensive and principled” and support the report’s conclusion that China’s arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.” They repeat the call for the UN Human Rights Council to convene a special session on China.

The experts say they “endorse and support all the recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Office and offer their support to facilitate the implementation of these recommendations.”

The 45 UN experts also reiterate the recommendations made in their June 2020 joint statement calling for a special session or mechanism to address human rights issues more broadly in China, noting numerous human rights violations were also occurring in other parts of the country.

Alternative mechanisms suggested include the creation of a Special Procedures mandate; a panel of experts monitoring, analyzing and reporting annually on the human rights situation in China; or the creation of a special envoy designated by the General Assembly or the Secretary-General.

The experts

The experts who signed the statement are: Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism; Alice Edwards, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Siobhán Mullally, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children; Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context; Attiya Waris, Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights; Tomoya Obokata, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences; Luciano Hazan (Chair-Rapporteur), Aua Baldé (Vice Chair), Grażyna Baranowska, Gabriella Citroni and Angkhana Neelapaijit, Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Ana Brian Nougrères, Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy; Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Miriam Estrada-Castillo (Chair-Rapporteur), Mumba Malila (Vice-chairperson), Elina Steinerte, Priya Gopalan, Matthew Gillett, Working Group on arbitrary detention; Nazila Ghanea, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; Reem Alsalem, Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences; Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on Minorities Issues; Sorcha MacLeod (Chair-Rapporteur), Jelena Aparac, Ravindran Daniel, Chris Kwaja, Carlos Salazar Couto, Working Group on the use of mercenaries; Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Melissa Upreti (Chair), Dorothy Estrada Tanck (Vice-Chair), Elizabeth Broderick, Ivana Radačić, and Meskerem Geset Techane, Working Group on discrimination against women and girls; Tendayi Achiume, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Alexandra Xanthaki, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights; Farida Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the right to education; Claudia Mahler Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons; Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Fabián Salvioli, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; Fernanda Hopenhaym (Chairperson), Elżbieta Karska, Robert McCorquodale, Damilola Olawuyi and Pichamon Yeophantong (Vice-Chairperson), Working Group on Business and Human Rights; Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on the right to food.