The UN Asks China to Act on Human Rights Issues


UN Calls on China to Act on Human Rights Issues. PHOTO/Reuters

GENEVA – UN human rights chief Volker Turk on Tuesday (7/3/2023) demanded action from Beijing to address “serious concerns” over the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang province.

Turk is under pressure from Western countries and rights organizations to take a tough stance on Xinjiang, following a shocking report from its predecessor citing possible crimes against humanity in China’s westernmost region.

The United Nations is concerned about the protection of minorities like the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and Tibet, Turk said in his keynote speech at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council.

“Regarding China, we have opened channels of communication with various actors to follow up on various human rights issues,” Turk said, as quoted by AFP.

“In the Xinjiang region, my office has documented serious concerns – particularly large-scale arbitrary detention and ongoing family separation – and has made important recommendations that require concrete action,” Turk continued.

Turk also voiced disquiet over Hong Kong’s far-reaching national security law that was imposed in 2020 to stamp out dissent following large and often violent pro-democracy demonstrations.

“We also have concerns about the restriction of civic space in general, including the arbitrary detention of human rights defenders and lawyers, and the impact of the National Security Act on Hong Kong,” he said.

Turk’s remarks came in his first set-piece address to the council in Geneva since taking up the post as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in October.

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