Today, the United States co-sponsored with Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom a panel discussion on “The Human Rights Crisis in Xinjiang” on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, UN Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect Karen Smith, and others delivered remarks. Speakers expressed alarm about China’s ongoing repression campaign against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. They called attention to the mass detention of more than one million individuals in internment camps since April 2017, and recognized the credible reports of deaths, forced labor, torture, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment taking place in these camps.
U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel D. Brownback moderated the panel, which featured victims of China’s repression campaign, including a survivor of the camps and individuals who are fighting to learn the fate of missing or detained family members. They shared heartbreaking and deeply personal stories of their experiences and the abuses those in Xinjiang endure on a daily basis.
Speakers called on members of the international community to speak up and urge China to change course, release all those in the camps, and demonstrate respect for the human rights of all its people. They also encouraged the United Nations to demonstrate leadership on this issue and to closely monitor China’s human rights abuses, including the repression of freedom of religion or belief.