60 IPAC Parliamentarians Call for UN Investigation into Uyghur Genocide

June 21, 2021

Over 60 parliamentarians from 18 parliaments have called for the UN to launch a Commission of Inquiry into alleged Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity taking place in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (XUAR), ahead of the a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next week.

The letter, addressed to the President of the Human Rights Council Nazhat Shameem Khan and Foreign Ministers of eight democratic states represented on the Human Rights Council, highlights mounting evidence that the Chinese government is “committing crimes against humanity in the XUAR, with credible sources finding indications of genocide” and criticses the Council for failing to end impunity for perpetrators of abuse. The signatories call on the UN to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the XUAR with a mandate to investigate allegations fo genocide and identify the perpetrators of such abuses.

Among the signatories are US Senator Bob Menendez, chair of the powerful Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; German MEP Reinhard Bütikofer, chair of the European Parliament’s China delegation; Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, former leader of the the UK Conservative Party; Gen Nakatani, former Japanese Defence Minister; prominent German Green Margarete Bause MdB and Australian Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching. The letter is coordinated by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, an international cross-party network of parliamentarians pushing for democratic states to take a tougher stance on China.

The move coincides with reports that the Canadian government plans to lead criticism of China’s human rights abuses taking place in Xinjiang at the Council in a joint statement with the UK, US and other European countries. Next week’s meeting of the Human Rights Council will be the first since this year’s G7 Summit, where a joint communique singled out China for criticism on its abuse of human rights in Xinjiang. The calls come at the end of a week where the Czech Senate and Belgian Parliament joined a growing list of parliaments and governments that have made declarations on Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity taking place in the Uyghur Region, including the US, UK, Canada, the Netherlands and Lithuania.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP said:

“The UN Human Rights Council was founded to promote and protect human rights around the world. Today, it is used as a fig leaf for authoritarian regimes to hide the most egregious human rights abuses. We will not accept this. As mounting evidence indicates Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity taking place in the Uyghur Region, the UN must act to establish an independent inquiry into these abuses.”

Margarete Bause MdB said:

“The Human Rights Council should be the champion and guarantor of human rights globally. Yet so long as the Council declines to investigate the alleged crimes taking place in Xinjiang then it has failed to live up to this mission. There can be no turning away from the mounting evidence that documents these abuses. Only a UN led Commission of Inquiry can begin to bring hope of justice for the Uyghurs and other victims of persecution in the region.”

Representative Shiori Yamao said:

““The reports coming out of the Uyghur Region are truly horrific. There is an urgent need for a UN led inquiry to access the region and investigate these allegations. For too long the international community has turned a blind eye to the suffering of Uyghurs and other minority groups in China. This month the Human Rights Council has the opportunity to put this right and put Xinjiang at the top of the agenda.”


President of the UN Human Rights Council, Nazhat Shameem Khan,

Jakub Kulhánek, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Czech Republic,

Jeppe Kofod, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Denmark,

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs for France,

Heiko Maas, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Germany,

Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Italy,

Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Japan,

Sigrid Kaag, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Netherlands,

Dominic Raab, Minister of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs for the United Kingdom

18 June 2021

Your excellencies,

As you prepare for the upcoming session of the Human Rights Council, we write to express our concern at the ongoing gross human rights violations taking place in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the People’s Republic of China.

Mounting evidence documents the Chinese government’s brutal persecution of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the XUAR. At least one million people are held in arbitrary detention, with inmates exposed to sexual abuse, torture and political indoctrination. Uyghurs and other minorities living in Xinjiang are subject to forced labour through the region’s widespread coercive labour transfer schemes. Since 2015, birth rates of minority groups have declined dramatically in the wake of forced sterilizations, forced abortions and draconian birth control policies against minority groups.

There is strong evidence that the Chinese Communist Party is committing crimes against humanity in the XUAR, with credible sources finding indications of genocide. Through the Genocide Convention, to which China is also a signatory, the international community is legally and morally obliged to prevent these most egregious human rights violations from ocurring. So long as China maintains its reservations to the International Court of Justice and is able to veto referrals to the International Criminal Court, the prospect of accountability for these allegations remains remote.

We urge you, as members of the UN Human Rights Council, to advocate for the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry on the gross human rights violations in the XUAR and to introduce a resolution to this effect at the upcoming session. A Commission of Inquiry on the XUAR should have a mandate to:

  • Investigate alleged gross human rights violations against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, including allegations of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide;
  • Identify alleged perpetrators of human rights violations against individuals in or from Xinjiang and provide a road map for holding such perpetrators accountable, as well as to provide reparations for survivors;
  • Make recommendations to end gross human rights violations in Xinjiang committed by the Chinese government;
  • Report back regularly to the Council and other relevant UN bodies.

As members of the Human Rights Council, we urge you to undertake your responsibilities to put a stop to the crimes taking place in Xinjiang. Democratic states must partner together to bring an end to impunity for perpetrators of these abuses and prevent further atrocities from taking place.

We look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Senator Eric Abetz

George Christensen MP

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

Cassy O’Connor MP

Senator Kimberley Kitching

Senator James Paterson

Members of the Parliament of Australia

Samuel Cogolati MP

Georges Dallemagne MP

Els Van Hoof MP

Members of the Belgian Federal Parliament

Hon. Irwin Cotler

Senator Pierre J. Dalphond

Garnett Genuis MP

Senator Thanh Hai Ngo

Tom Kmiec MP

Senator Marilou McPhedran

Members of the Parliament of Canada

Senator Pavel Fischer

Helena Langšádlová MP

⁨Jan Lipavský MP

Members of the Parliament of the Czech Republic

⁨Uffe Elbaek MP⁩

Member of the Danish Folketing

Reinhard Bütikofer MEP

Sandro Gozi MEP

David Lega MEP

Miriam Lexmann MEP

Engin Eroglu MEP

Members of the European Parliament

Senator André Gattolin

Frédérique Dumas MP

Members of the French Parliament

Margarete Bause MdB

Michael Brand MdB

Gyde Jensen MdB

Members of the German Bundestag

Senator Malcolm Byrne

Senator Lisa Chambers

Senator Vincent P. Martin

Senator Michael McDowell

Senator David Norris

Senator Barry Ward

Members of the Irish Oireachtas

Enrico Borghi MP

Paolo Formentini MP

Roberto Giachetti MP

Senator Lucio Malan

Senator Roberto Rampi

Members of the Italian Parliament

Representative Gen Nakatani

Representative Shiori Yamao

Members of the Japanese Diet

Dovilė Šakalienė MP

Member of the Lithuanian Seimas

Tom van der Lee MP

Sjoerd Sjoerdsma MP

Members of the States General of the Netherlands

Simon O’Connor MP

Louisa Wall MP

Members of the New Zealand Parliament

David Josefsson MP

Elisabet Lann

Members of the Swedish Riksdag

Lisa Mazzone MP

Fabian Molina MP

Yves Nidegger MP

Nicolas Walder MP

Members of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland

Lord (David) Alton

Rushanara Ali MP

Baroness (Natalie) Bennett

Janet Daby MP

Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP

Nusrat Ghani MP

Wera Hobhouse MP

Baroness (Jenny) Jones

Baroness (Helena) Kennedy QC

Tim Loughton MP

Layla Moran MP

Bob Seely MP

Stephen Timms MP

Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom

Representative Tom Malinowski

Senator Bob Menendez

Members of the United States Congress


Next Article