Skip to main content

The World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed the obligation of all states to ensure that persons belonging to minorities can fully exercise all their fundamental human rights. It is the responsibility of governments to provide security for all citizens regardless of their ethnicity. Human Rights Watch strongly condemns acts of violence committed against minority groups exercising their right to peaceful dissent, and government’s forceful suppression of these movements, the likes of which we have seen on our television screens in recent weeks.

Decades of repressive policies imposed on such groups lead to the kinds of situations we are witnessing today. Some minorities have systematically been denied basic freedoms, such as assembly, association, expression, and religious practice. Strictly controlling access to and information about areas where minorities live has been key to some government’s ability to silence dissent there.

Human Rights Watch calls on such governments:

  • immediately and unconditionally release those arbitrarily detained during the protests, and provide proper treatment for those in custody.
  • Fully respect minority group’s freedoms of expression, assembly and association, which are guaranteed under domestic and international law.
  • Ensure access by journalists and other independent monitors to regions where minorities live in order to report freely on what takes place there.
  • Allow independent investigation into recent crackdowns of peaceful protests by minorities by credible international organizations, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mr President, no country can be considered a member in good standing of this Council if it violently suppresses the rights of minorities.

Human Rights Watch is also gravely concerned by repression of minorities in exile, who are prevented from demonstrating peacefully.

The Vienna Declaration identified the protection of human rights as a legitimate concern of the international community as a whole. Mr President, it is legitimate to raise concerns about the way in which the spirit of the Vienna Declaration is violated in specific countries including China. China has repressed freedom of speech in Tibet, it should not be allowed to do so in this Council.

Your tax deductible gift can help stop human rights violations and save lives around the world.

Region / Country