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It Is Beyond Time for the UN Rights Council to Take Action on China, India and on Rights Violations at Borders

HRW Oral Statement - Item 2 General Debate - HRC54

Delegates attend the opening day of the 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, in Geneva, June 13, 2022. © 2022 Keystone/Valentin Flauraud

Mr. President.

We thank the High Commissioner for his update on a number of important issues and crises, and his important call to action to the international community to recommit to the universality and indivisibility of human rights in this important anniversary year.

We share the High Commissioner’s concerns over continued disregard for the rights and lives of people on the move. We urge this Council to ensure robust investigation of rights violations at borders, such as the Pylos shipwreck where hundreds lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea. A recent Human Rights Watch report documented the mass killings of hundreds of Ethiopian migrants and asylum seekers by Saudi border guards at the Yemen-Saudi border, which may amount to crimes against humanity and should be investigated by the United Nations (UN).

Just over one year ago, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published its landmark report on Xinjiang concluding that Chinese authorities’ violations against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims “may constitute … crimes against humanity.” As the Office recently noted, that report “was clear on the need for accountability.” One year on, given the government’s refusal to accept the report’s findings, let alone implement its recommendations, it is beyond time for this Council, and the Office, to take concrete action to advance accountability, and offer immediate support to victims and to families to trace missing relatives. Urgent action is also required to address parallel abuses in Tibet, repression in Hong Kong, and sweeping rights violations across and beyond China.

Finally, we share the High Commissioner’s concerns on the rights crisis in India, where the government continues to fuel discrimination and violence against minorities and persists in its assault on civil society, abusing laws to investigate, prosecute, or otherwise silence critics and activists. We call for more public efforts by this Council, and the Office, to hold India to their human rights obligations and commitments as a member of this Council. 

Thank you.

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