China is unfit to be elected to the Human Right Council: Human Rights Groups

The United Nations General Assembly. Photo: UN

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Dharamshala — More than 80 human rights groups and international organisations opposed China's candidacy for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Given China's human rights violations in Tibet, East Turkestan, Hong Kong and China itself, China is not fit to hold this position and cannot be entrusted with the responsibility of promoting and protecting human rights worldwide.

Every three years, the United Nations General Assembly elects 15 members of the UN Human Rights Council. This year, the vote will take place on October 10, 2023, with the term of office beginning in January, 2024. Four seats are reserved for states from the Asia-Pacific region, and China is one of three other states seeking these seats. Therefore, the joined signed application of these organisations have highlighted China is unqualified to run as it does not meet the requirements under General Assembly Resolution 60/251, that is, to “take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights” and to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” and to fully cooperate with the Council and its mechanisms.

The signatories also write on China’s use of power to silence the voice of civil society at the UN. It has not allowed any visits by Human Rights experts except one since 2018 (with only restricted and limited access) and has dismissed all concerns raised regarding human rights violations in East Turkestan, Hongkong and Tibet, at the Human Rights Council and "attacked Special Procedures mandate-holders in public statements."

More than 40 UN experts have emphasized the need for "effective actions to safeguard fundamental freedoms" in China. They have urged the Human Rights Council to respond promptly, emphasizing the necessity for urgent action to address human rights violations. These experts have further recommended that the Human Rights Council either convene a special session or establish "an unbiased and independent United Nations mechanism" to assess, scrutinize, and provide annual reports on the human rights conditions in China.

The Chinese government harshly suppresses human rights defenders and lawyers, disbanding civil society groups, and persecuting their members. Despite crackdowns, defenders persist but face harassment, surveillance, and detention. UN experts express grave concerns about this repression.

The statement also mentioned the escalation of human rights abuses in Tibet, "including the residential school system that has seen at least one million Tibetan children separated from their families and communities; an extensive labour transfer program and a massive involuntary relocation policy; the imprisonment of Tibetan environmental defenders; the systematic suppression of religious freedom; and the sidelining of Tibetan language education".

The statement also mentioned that due to the Human rights violations in East Turkestan, Hong Kong, China. China also received the lowest number of votes in the 2020 election, which shows how little support it has and giving it the seat, would send the wrong message. Hence, the signatories urge not to vote for China and leave the fourth seat empty.

These human rights groups and international organisations are organisations of victims who have fled East Turkestan, Hong Kong, China and Tibet due to the Chinese government's flagrant violations of human rights and the lack of freedom and democracy in their regions. Therefore, they call on the United Nations not to elect China to the Human Rights Council because of its flagrant violations of human rights in China and around the world.

Tibetan National Congress and US Tibet Committee activists and supporters protested against the Chinese government's participation in the UN Human Rights Committee 2024-2027 and called on representatives of other nations at the UN Assembly not to vote for China as a member of the Committee because of China's gross human rights violations in China and around the world. Activists from the organisations protest against the CCP for its human rights violations in Tibet and raise awareness of human rights violations in Tibet, East Turkestan, Hong Kong and China at the United Nations headquarters in New York on October 9, 2023.