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Joint NB8 Statement on the situation of the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang

JOINT NORDIC-BALTIC STATEMENT

by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden
to be delivered at the High-level virtual event on the situation of the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang

by H.E. Martin Bille Hermann, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN
12 May 2021

I am delivering this statement on behalf of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.

We are gravely concerned about the information presented in reports and statements on the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Among others by NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – both present here today.

We are gravely concerned about the reported existence of a large network of so-called “political re-education” camps, where a very high number of people are held in long-term arbitrary detention. We are equally concerned by efforts to severely restrict the right to freedom of religion or belief, expression, peaceful assembly and association and the freedoms of movement for Uyghurs and other persons belonging to minority groups, as well as other human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang.

We deplore the widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting ethnic Uighurs and other individuals belonging to minority groups. We raise our deep concerns about the information brought forward in evidence-based reports, including of forced labor, forced use of birth control, sexual abuse and forced sterilizations.

Human rights, as stipulated in international law and as provided for in China’s constitution must be fully ensured for all persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, also in Xinjiang.

We also call on China to allow journalists and other media workers to report on the human rights situation in Xinjiang without surveillance, censorship or fear of retribution.

Furthermore, we call on the Chinese government to facilitate immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for all relevant UN special procedures and for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Lastly, we strongly regret the Chinese retaliatory decision to sanction institutions and individuals of the EU and European countries, as countermeasure to the EU’s global human rights sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the human rights violations against the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.

We wish to thank the organizers of this event and to pay tribute to your continuous reporting, awareness raising and debate on this matter of great concern.

Thank you.

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