May 6, 2022
Activists warn the upcoming visit risks aiding Beijing’s attempts to whitewash repression against Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hongkongers, Southern Mongolians, and others
We, a coalition of over 220 Tibetan, Uyghur, Hongkonger, Southern Mongolian, and Chinese democracy groups, are demanding the High Commissioner reverse her current plan to visit China or risk walking into a propaganda minefield laid out by the Chinese Communist Party.
Reports suggest that the UN High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, is due to visit China in less than two weeks and that her advance team arrived in China on 25 April.
To date, she has not met with any of the affected communities despite multiple requests and the overwhelming evidence of genocide and rampant human rights abuses (including widespread torture and sexual abuse) nor has she met with wider civil society organisations for specific briefings on Beijing’s crackdown.
Ms. Bachelet has also ignored all offers to meet with survivors from the Uyghur camps, Tibetan former political prisoners, or Chinese democracy activists linked to the Tiananmen Square Massacre. She has simultaneously remained silent on the unprecedented statement by over 50 UN experts calling for “urgent” and “decisive measures” to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of those living under Chinese rule.
During her time in office, the current High Commissioner has failed to raise any concern about the situation in occupied Tibet, which has not been mentioned as a visit location, despite being ranked as the least free place in the world for the second year in a row. Hong Kong and Southern Mongolia are also missing from her list of visit locations though both places have witnessed historic protests and subsequent crackdowns on human rights and freedom in the past two years.
Securing access to these locations is more imperative than ever given the scale of the crackdown, which has largely taken place behind closed doors. Tibet has been sealed off to her office since 1998, neither East Turkistan, Southern Mongolia nor Hong Kong have ever been visited by a High Commissioner, and China itself has not seen a High Commissioner visit since 2005. As some of the most restricted areas in the world, these locations are desperately in need of independent human rights monitoring and investigation and the Chinese authorities are grant the High Commissioner access to them.
Compounding this failure to do her duty, the High Commissioner has also failed on her commitment from 2021 to release a report on the grave human rights violations targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities in East Turkistan [CH: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region]. To continue to withhold the release of this urgent report ahead of her visit to China raises further concern about her ability to offer robust independent scrutiny during her visit.
Tibetan, Uyghur, Hongkonger, Southern Mongolian and Chinese communities are urgently calling for crucial guarantees that they expect to be met ahead of Bachelet’s visit, including:
Release of the OHCHR report on serious human rights violations in East Turkistan;
Assurances of secure meetings with independent civil society organisations, human rights defenders and survivors of China’s human rights abuses including groups in the diaspora, in advance of the visit;
Transparency about the measures taken to date to ensure unfettered access to all areas including Tibet, East Turkistan, Southern Mongolia and Hong Kong.
Without any assurances that her office has secured meaningful and unfettered access, the undersigned organisations are calling for an immediate postponement of the trip.
Proceeding with the visit under such ill-negotiated terms and without adequate briefing from those affected by China’s human rights violations, Ms. Bachelet risks jeopardising a rare opportunity for independent human rights monitoring and grants Beijing yet another opportunity to further whitewash its repression against Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Southern Mongolians, Chinese dissidents and others.
Campaign for Uyghurs China Against the Death Penalty Free Tibet Hong Kong Watch International Campaign for Tibet International Tibet Network Southern Mongolian Human Rights Center Students for a Free Tibet Tibet Action Institute Tibet Initiative Deutschland Tibet Justice Center Tibetan Youth Association in Europe Uyghur Human Rights Project We The Hongkongers World Uyghur Congress
On behalf of the following 200+ global rights groups and communities: DOWNLOAD THE STATEMENT HERE
AfricaHongKongFrance(AHKF) Association Drôme Ardèche-Tibet Aide aux Refugies Tibetains Alaskans for Tibet Association Cognizance Tibet Amigos del Tíbet Chile Amigos del Tibet El Salvador Alberta Uyghur Association Amigos de Tibet Colombia Asociación Cultural Tibetano Costarricense Anterrashtriya Bharat – Tibbet Sahyog Samiti Asociación Cultural Peruano Tibetana Associazione Italia-Tibet Australia Tibet Council Australian East Turkestan Association Australian Uyghur Association Australian Uyghur Tangritagh Women’s Association Austria Uyghur Association Bay Area Friends of Tibet Befria Hongkong Belgium Uyghur Association Bharrat Tibbat Sahyog Manch, India Bharrat Tibbat Samvad Manch, India Blue Crescent Humanitarian Aid Association Boston Tibet Network Briancon05 Urgence Tibet CADAL Canada Tibet Committee Casa del Tibet Casa Tibet México Centro De Cultura Tibetana, Brazil China Human Rights Accountability Center Circle of Friends Comite de Apoyo al Tibet Comité pour la Liberté à Hong-Kong Committee of 100 for Tibet Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India Czechs Support Tibet DC4HK (Washingtonians Supporting Hong Kong) Dream for Children, Japan Dutch Uyghur Human Rights Foundation East Turkestan Press and Media Association East Turkestan Union of Muslim Scholars East Turkistan Association in Finland East Turkistan Association of Canada East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association East Turkistan Entrepreneur Tradesmen and Industrialists Businessmen Association East Turkistan Human Rights Watch East Turkistan New Generation Movement East Turkistan Nuzugum Culture and Family Association East Turkistan Sports and Development Association East Turkistan Union in Europe Eastern Turkistan Foundation EcoTibet Ireland European East Turkistan Education Association Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong Finnish Uyghur Culture Center Foundation for Universal Responsibility of the Dalai Lama France-Tibet Free Indo-Pacific Alliance Free Tibet Fukuoka Friends of Tibet Costa Rica Friends of Tibet in Finland Friends of Tibet New Zealand Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete, Portugal Hong Kong Committee in Norway Hong Kong Democracy Council Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles Hong Kong Professional Network Hong Kong Social Action Movements in Boston Hong Kongers in San Diego Hong Kongers in San Francisco Bay Area Hongkongers at McGill Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan Humanitarian China Ilham Tohti Initiative India Tibet Friendship Society= Institute for China’s Democratic Transition International Pen Uyghur Center International Society of Human Rights, Munich Chapter International Support for Uyghurs International Tibet Independence Movement International union of East Turkistan Organizations International Uyghur Human Right and Democracy Foundation Isa Yusup Alptekin Foundation Islamic Community Milli Gorus Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People Japan Association of Monks for Tibet (Super Sangha) Japan Uyghur Association Justice for Uyghurs Le Club Français Paraguay Les Amis du Tibet Belgium Les Amis du Tibet Luxembourg Lion Rock Café Lions Des Neiges Mont Blanc, France Lungta Association Belgium Maison des Himalayas Maison du Tibet – Tibet Inf National Campaign for Tibetan Support, India National Democratic Party of Tibet Netherlands for Hong Kong Northern California Hong Kong Club Norwegian Uyghur Committee NY4HK Objectif Tibet Omer Uygur Foundation Passeport Tibetain Perth Anti-CCP Association Phagma Drolma-Arya Tara RangZen:Movimento Tibete Livre, Brazil Roof of the World Foundation, Indonesia Sakya Trinley Ling Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet Satuq Bugrakhan Foundation of Science and Civilization Save Tibet Foundation Save Tibet, Austria Sierra Friends of Tibet Society for Threatened Peoples International Society Union of Uyghur National Association Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada Students for a Free Tibet Canada Students for a Free Tibet Denmark Students for a Free Tibet France Students for a Free Tibet India Students for a Free Tibet Japan Students for a Free Tibet UK Sweden Uyghur Education Union Swedish Tibet Committee Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association Switzerland East Turkestan Association Taiwan Friends of Tibet Tashi Delek Bordeaux The Norwegian Tibet Committee The Youth Liberation Front of Tibet, Mongolia and Turkestan Tibet Action Group of Western Australia Tibet cesky Tibet Committee of Fairbanks Tibet Group, Panama Tibet Lives, India Tibet Mx Tíbet Patria Libre, Uruguay Tibet Rescue Initiative in Africa Tibet Society Tibet Society of South Africa Tibet Solidarity Tibet Support Committee Denmark Tibet Support Group Adelaide Tibet Support Group Ireland Tibet Support Group Kenya Tibet Support Group Kiku, Japan Tibet Support Group Netherlands Tibetan Association of Germany Tibetan Association of Ithaca Tibetan Association of Northern California Tibetan Association of Philadelphia Tibetan Association of Washington DC Tibetan Community Austria Tibetan Community in Britain Tibetan Community in Denmark Tibetan Community in Ireland Tibetan Community in Italy Tibetan Community of Italy Tibetan Community Queensland Tibetan Community Sweden Tibetan Community Victoria Tibetan Cultural Association Quebec Tibetan Programme of The Other Space Foundation Tibetan Women’s Association (Central) Tibetans of Mixed Heritage Tibetisches Zentrum Hamburg TIBETmichigan Toronto Association for Democracy in China TSG – Slovenia U.S. Tibet Committee Uigur Society of the Kyrgyz Republic Umer Uyghur Trust UNFFT US HongKongers Club Uyghur Academy Uyghur Academy Australia Uyghur Academy Canada Uyghur Academy Europe Uyghur Academy Foundation Uyghur Academy Japan Uyghur Academy USA Uyghur American Association Uyghur Association of Victoria Uyghur Center for Human Rights and Democracy Uyghur Cultural and Education Union in Germany Uyghur Education Union Uyghur Projects Foundation Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund Uyghur Research Institute Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project Uyghur Science and Civilization Research Foundation Uyghur Support Group Netherlands Uyghur Transitional Justice Database Uyghur U.K. Association Uyghur Youth Union in Kazakhstan Uyghurischer Verein Schweiz Uyghuristan Republican Party Uzbekistan Uyghur Culture Center Victoria Uyghur Association Voces Tibet World League for Freedom and Democracy World Uyghur Congress Foundation