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Canada with 43 countries raise grave concerns on Tibet, call on China for UN Access to Xinjiang

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Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in Geneva Leslie E. Norton delivers the cross-regional joint statement.

Geneva: Canada delivered a cross-regional joint statement on behalf of 44 countries that expressed grave concerns on the human rights violations in Tibet, East Turkestan [Ch: Xinjiang] and Hong Kong and called on China to allow UN access to Xinjiang at the ongoing 47th session of the UNHRC.

Today, during the interactive dialogue on the annual report of the UN High Commissioner, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in Geneva Leslie E. Norton delivered the cross-regional joint statement.

UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet while presenting the annual report yesterday hoped that China would allow her meaningful access to Xinjiang this year. The Chinese Mission in Geneva yesterday noted that the visit of the High Commissioner will be considered as a “friendly one” and not for any “investigation”. It again called the issues of Hong Kong and Xinjiang an “internal affairs” and should not be used for interfering in its “sovereignty.”

Supporting her calls for meaningful access to Xinjiang, the joint statement noted, “We urge China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the High Commissioner, and to urgently implement the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s 8 recommendations related to Xinjiang, including by ending the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities.”

The joint statement highlighted the credible reports of arbitrary detention of over a million people in Xinjiang. It also referred to the reports of torture, forced sterilization, sexual sterilization, sexual and gender-based violence etc.

The countries also expressed deep concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet and Hong Kong and called on China to abide by the human rights obligations. The 44 countries including Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the US from four UN regional groups: Eastern European; Western European; Latin American and Caribbean; and Asia and Pacific Groups.

The Tibet Bureau Geneva welcomes the cross-regional joint statement of the 44 countries led by Canada and urges the UN High Commissioner to also monitor and report on the egregious human rights violations in Tibet.

– Filed by Tibet Bureau Geneva