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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet during a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, September 4, 2019. © 2019 Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP

Thank you, Mr. President,

Last week’s urgent debate showed that this Council can take action to hold even its most powerful members to account for their international crimes.

Now, High Commissioner, it’s past time for you to do the same.

I make this statement on behalf of more than 100 NGOs.

Many of our organisations have documented Chinese authorities’ systematic mass detention, torture, persecution, and other violations targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities in Xinjiang, of a scale and nature amounting to crimes against humanity. We have repeatedly raised alarm – including to your Office – over the extreme measures taken by Chinese authorities since 2017 to root out the religious traditions, cultural practices, and local languages of the region’s Muslim ethnic groups.

Special procedures and treaty bodies have also voiced these concerns over the last five years.

In contrast, we have been concerned by the relative silence of your Office in the face of these grave violations, aside from procedural updates on the status of access negotiations. Last September you confirmed your Office was “finalising its assessment” for publication. Six months later, the world is still awaiting that report.

Victims, survivors and their families deserve justice, and need to know that your Office stands with them.

We urge you to fulfil your mandate, release the report without further delay, and brief this Council on its findings as a matter of urgency.

Accountability can wait no longer.

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