Item 4 General Debate
Right of Reply to the People’s Republic of China by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Michèle Taylor
Human Rights Council – 52nd Session
Thank you, Mr. President. This Right of Reply is in response to the statement by the delegate from the People’s Republic of China.
The PRC claims that accusations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong are fabrications. In fact, numerous special procedures, treaty bodies, and the OHCHR have found evidence of serious abuses, including possible crimes against humanity.
Since the High Commissioner’s report was released last August, UN experts have continued to raise the alarm. In September, 25 Special Procedures Mandate Holders issued a press release detailing their profound concerns over the situation in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
In November, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination acted under its early warning and urgent action procedure to call on the PRC to investigate all allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang and to immediately release all individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty.
In February, three special rapporteurs raised the alarm over PRC government policies aimed at forcibly assimilating Tibetans through a colonial style boarding school system that has separated an estimated one million Tibetan children from their families.
Also in February, the Committee on ESC Rights expressed its concern over the “discriminatory character of severe, systematic, vast, and undue restrictions” in Xinjiang, the “large-scale campaign to eradicate Tibetan culture and language,” and “arrests, detentions and trials without due process of civil society actors, journalists, human rights defenders, [and] lawyers” in Hong Kong.
The PRC and others say that the United States should focus on issues of injustice within our own borders. Unless they don’t listen, they know full well I have repeatedly stated before this Council that no country is above scrutiny, including my own. That’s why the United States has issued a standing invitation to all thematic Special Procedures Mandate Holders. We have welcomed visits by several Special Procedures in recent years, including the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues in late 2021. The Special Rapporteur for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism recently visited Guantanamo Bay and Washington, D.C. Next month, in April, we will welcome the first visit to any country by the International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement.
We call on all other countries, including the People’s Republic of China, to also extend standing invitations to all thematic Special Procedures Mandate Holders. It is only through openness, transparency, and introspection, rather than denial, that we can address human rights issues globally and in our own countries.
As articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human dignity has no national boundaries. We must call out injustice wherever we see it, and we will never shy away from that. As Martin Luther King Junior said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”