Introducing Draft Decision L.6 “Debate on the Situation of Human Rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China”
Statement by Ambassador Michèle Taylor
51st Session of the
United Nations Human Rights Council
Thank you, Mr. President.
Along with the delegation of Norway, I have the honor to co-introduce draft decision L.6, entitled “Debate on the situation of human rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China,” which has been tabled by a Core Group comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Australia, and Lithuania.
Distinguished members and observers of the Council, just over a month ago, the High Commissioner for Human Rights published an assessment of the human rights situation in Xinjiang. The evidence in this independent assessment was compiled over a three-year period. It relied extensively on China’s own records. It corroborates several concerns raised by special procedures, independent media, academic researchers, and, most importantly, by Uyghurs themselves.
General Assembly Resolution 60/251 mandated this Council to “address situations of violations of human rights.” In the context of this fundamental mandate, the Core Group of ten countries has proposed a short, procedural decision calling for the Council to debate the human rights situation in Xinjiang.
This decision is very straightforward. But we know it has already generated much discussion. Let me address some of the objections now.
Some may say that the conclusions of the High Commissioner’s assessment are incorrect, calling into question the integrity and impartiality of the office. But the decision before us now takes no position on the conclusions. Indeed, its whole purpose is to provide a neutral forum for discussion.
Some may say the measure before us today is presented without the cooperation of the country concerned. Our response is that a Council Debate will allow China to put its own views on record and give an opportunity for members, observers, and civil society to express their views.
Finally, some may say the proposed debate politicizes the Council. To the contrary, resolution 60/251 charges the Council with, “promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind…” No country represented here today has a perfect human rights record. No country, no matter how powerful, should be excluded from Council discussions – this includes my country, the United States, and it includes the People’s Republic of China.
Distinguished colleagues, I invite us all, including China as the country concerned, to uphold the raison d’etre of the Human Rights Council; reaffirm the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity; and support this call for dialogue.