UN Genocide Prevention Specialist Lists Problems in a Dozen Countries – But Not China

By Patrick Goodenough | June 30, 2021 | 4:13am EDT
China’s national flag flies over a mosque in Kashgar, Xinjiang region. (Photo by Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)
China’s national flag flies over a mosque in Kashgar, Xinjiang region. (Photo by Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – A U.N. human rights specialist focusing on the prevention of genocide delivered a statement to the U.N. Human Rights Council this week that referred to situations in more than a dozen countries around the world – but was silent on China.

The U.S. government – both the Trump and Biden administrations – and six national parliaments including those of Britain and Canada have determined that the mass-scale human rights abuses against minority Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region constitute genocide.

In her statement, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, the “special advisor to the secretary-general on the prevention of genocide,” thanked the HRC for the opportunity to discuss “issues and situations that are of major concern to my mandate.”

She then touched on situations of concern in Syria, Burma, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Bosnia, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, and “the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Nderitu, a Kenyan appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last November, also referred broadly to “a general concern on the impact of racism and discrimination in the overall Global North, which can ignite social polarization increasing the risk of atrocity crimes when/where elements of resilience are weak with a focus on migrant/refugee populations.”

The words “China,” “Xinjiang,” or “Uyghurs” did not feature in her statement.

During the “interactive dialogue” that followed, HRC member-states raised concerns about issues in a number of countries. The United States – not currently a member of the HRC – was one of the few to mention Xinjiang.

“We are currently witnessing brutal acts of violence in Burma, Tigray, Ethiopia, and Xinjiang, China, among others, that demand international attention,” said U.S. delegate Daniel Kronenfeld.

In its statement, China’s representative accused the U.S., Canada and other unnamed Western nations of committing genocide against indigenous peoples and “during the colonization of and aggression against other countries.”

“The international community has the responsibility to conduct a comprehensive, impartial and in-depth investigation into all crimes of genocide, hold the perpetrators accountable, prevent impunity, and eliminate the legacy of genocide such as racism and racial discrimination,” he said.

Cuba’s delegate said the U.S. economic blockade on his country “qualifies as an act of genocide” under the 1948 Convention on Genocide.

(The convention defines genocide as actions, including killing and seriously harming people, “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.”)

With Xinjiang unmentioned by most government representatives, it was left to participating non-governmental organizations to raise the situation there. As they did, China’s delegation repeatedly called for “point of order” interventions, urging the chair to stop the speaker from continuing.

“We are witnessing the internment of millions of Uyghurs and others in camps; the widespread use of Uyghur forced labor; the destruction of cultural and religious sites; the bans on the Uyghur language; the family separation policies; the forced sterilization of Uyghur women and the use of surveillance technology to repress and monitor Uyghurs,” said World Uyghur Congress president Dolkun Isa.

After interrupting Isa, a Chinese representative said, “China enjoys absolute peace in the Xinjiang region. There is no genocide.”

A speaker for International Bar Association was also interrupted after listing crimes that have been recorded in Xinjiang, including “mass arbitrary detention and surveillance, torture and ill-treatment, rape and sexual abuse, enforced disappearances, forced labor, sterilization and transfer of children, and pervasive cultural and religious restrictions.”

“Based on current evidence, we cannot exclude that certain atrocities amount to genocide. The international community, this council, and your office cannot remain silent,” she concluded, in a direct challenge to the HRC and Nderitu’s Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.

After calling again for a point of order intervention, China’s representative accused the International Bar Association speaker of using “humiliating language.”

“We’d like to reaffirm here and now that the social, economic and cultural development is very stable in Xinjiang. There is no so-called genocide.”

MRC Store