They have called upon China to uphold autonomy, right, and freedom in Hong Kong and to respect human rights in Tibet

The Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations Ambassador Christoph Heusgen has issued a joint statement on behalf of 39 countries raising concerns over the recent developments in Hong Kong and the human rights exploitation in Xinjiang.

“In June 2020, 50 UN Special Procedures mandate holders issued an exceptional letter of concern, calling on the People’s Republic of China to respect human rights. We share their grave concerns. We call on China to respect human rights, particularly the rights of persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet,” read the joint statement signed by 39 countries including Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany.

The statement brought into notice the severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and the freedoms of movement, association, and expression as well as on Uyghur culture in Xinjiang, along with forced labor and forced birth control practiced on the minority community.

Aside from the minority discrimination in Xinjiang, the joint statement took into account the recent developments in Hong Kong on the National Day of China.

China’s National Day, October 1 is marked by cheerfulness on one hand and protests on the other. While the Chinese Communist Party celebrates National Day, the anniversary of its takeover of China, democracy supporters in Hong Kong protest. The situation was no different this year as well even though Beijing has imposed “national security” in Hong Kong.

The public outrage in the protest was, however, comparatively lesser than the last year when they were brutally treated yet dozens of protesters were arrested by the police.

The Hong Kong security law, imposed on June 30, allows for anything China views as subversive or secessionist or as terrorism or collusion with foreign forces to be punished with up to life in prison.

Citing the concerns raised by the UN human rights experts in September over the Hong Kong security law, the joint statement urged the relevant authorities to guarantee the rights which are protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, including freedoms of speech, the press, and assembly.

It should be noted that human rights exploitation and the abuse of democracy are rooted in the functioning of the Chinese Communist Party. Activists, journalists, and the common public have time and again raised voices against the injustice happening there. #StandupforHongKong is a trending hashtag on twitter and a general emotion among people.

Towards the end, the 39 countries called on China and relevant special procedure mandate holders to take immediate action to allow meaningful access to minorities in Xinjiang and respect the independence of Hong Kong.

“Madame Chair, we call on China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office, and relevant special procedure mandate holders; to urgently implement CERD’s eight recommendations related to Xinjiang, including by refraining from the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and members of other minorities,” the statement read.