General Debate under Item 4:
General debate Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
13 March 2019
Oral Statement by: International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD) and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice would like to echo calls for urgent action to be taken to address serious human rights situations in China and Myanmar.
As has been noted by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, several Special Rapporteurs and numerous NGOs, ethnic and religious minorities in China face ongoing threats from summary executions, discrimination, arbitrary detention and torture. The Uighur people of Xinjiang province are a case in point with millions of Muslims subjected to intense monitoring of personal activities, intimidation, and involuntary detention and torture in so-called “re-education camps.” The Chinese government has gone to great lengths to convince the world that human rights are protected in Xinjiang. However, we wonder why China refuses to allow visits to the region by UN special procedures or other independent monitors.
Myanmar has also refused to allow visits by special procedures. Instead, the government persists with using a narrative of defending the state against terrorist elements to excuse the mass destruction of entire villages and the dislocation and ill treatment of millions of ethnic minorities in Rakhine State and other areas. Unfortunately, since the constitutional structure of the country gives the military a dominant role in politics and government, domestic human rights mechanisms will hardly be allowed to criticize the military and, therefore, will not result in full accountability for human rights violations.
EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice call on the Council to continue efforts to investigate and address these situations. We also urge China and Myanmar to allow UN special procedures to visit their countries. If, in fact, there are no human rights abuses occurring, then the visits should be a welcome opportunity to demonstrate that fact to the world.