Statement by Minister Joly on UN report on human rights situation in Xinjiang


September 1, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement on the release of a report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang), China:

“The release of this much-anticipated report was critical. The findings reflect the credible accounts of grave human rights violations taking place in Xinjiang. This report makes an important contribution to the mounting evidence of serious, systemic human rights abuses and violations occurring in Xinjiang. It finds that the arbitrary and discriminatory detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.

“Canada has repeatedly expressed its grave concern with the ongoing gross and systemic human rights violations occurring in Xinjiang affecting Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities. Mounting evidence points to systemic, state-led human rights violations by Chinese authorities, including the mass arbitrary detention of more than 1 million Uyghurs and members of other Muslim ethnic minorities on the basis of their religion and ethnicity, as well as widespread mass surveillance, political re-education, sexual and gender-based violence, forced labour, torture and forced sterilization.

“Canada has engaged directly with the Government of China at the highest political levels regarding the human rights situation in Xinjiang, including in my conversations with my Chinese counterpart earlier this year. We have condemned human rights violations by China alongside our Five Eyes allies, the G7 and the United Nations Human Rights Council. In coordination with international partners, Canada is working to address the risk of goods produced from forced labour, from any country, from entering Canadian and global supply chains.

“Canada urges the Government of China to uphold its international human rights obligations and to respond to the concerns and the recommendations raised in the High Commissioner’s report. We will continue to work with our international partners on coordinated action to address the situation in Xinjiang and to ensure the Chinese government is held to account for its actions.”

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