Photo credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images
Photo credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Open letter to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: OHCHR report on grave human rights violations in Xinjiang can wait no longer

8 March 2022

Madam High Commissioner,

We, the undersigned human rights organisations, write to follow up on your commitment last year to release a report on grave ongoing human rights violations by Chinese authorities targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (the Uyghur region). The release of the report without further delay is essential – to send a message to victims and perpetrators alike that no state, no matter how powerful, is above international law or the robust independent scrutiny of your Office.

As you are aware, many of our organisations have documented how Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in the Uyghur region face systematic state-organized mass detention, torture, persecution, and other violations of a scale and nature amounting to crimes against humanity. We have repeatedly raised alarm – including to your Office – over the extreme measures taken by Chinese authorities since 2017 to root out the religious traditions, cultural practices, and local languages of the region’s Muslim ethnic groups. Carried out under the guise of fighting “terrorism”, these crimes have targeted ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Hui, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Tajiks.

In 2020, an unprecedented number of special procedures issued a landmark statement expressing concerns over human rights violations in China, including in the Uyghur region, and called for the UN to take decisive action. Treaty Bodies have also raised concerns over the situation in that region over the last five years.

In contrast to these efforts, we have been concerned by the relative silence of your Office in the face of these grave violations, aside from procedural updates on the status of negotiations to gain meaningful access to Xinjiang. In that context, we welcomed your confirmation in September last year that your Office was “finalising its assessment of the available information on allegations of serious human rights violations in [Xinjiang] with a view to making it public.” Six months later, after having been assured by your spokesperson in December the report would be released in a matter of weeks, the world is still awaiting that report.

Victims and survivors should not have to wait any longer. They and their families deserve justice and accountability, and need to know that your Office stands with them.

We urge you to fulfill your mandate, release the report without further delay, and brief members and observers of the UN Human Rights Council on its contents as a matter of urgency.

Accountability can wait no longer.


  1. 21Wilberforce
  2. ACAT-France
  3. Access Accountability
  4. Alberta Uyghur Association
  5. Alliance des Avocats pour les Droits de l’Homme
  6. Alliance for Vietnam’s Democracy
  7. ALTSEAN-Burma
  8. American Alliance for Automotive Corporate Social Responsibility
  9. American Muslim Bar Association
  10. Amnesty International
  11. Arakan Rohingya National Organisation
  12. ARTICLE 19
  13. Asia Democracy Network Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  14. Australian East Turkestan Association
  15. Australian Uyghur Association
  16. Australian Uyghur Tangritagh Women’s Association
  17. Austria Uyghur Association
  18. Bauhinias For Freedom
  19. Bay Area Friends of Tibet
  20. Be Slavery Free
  21. Belgium Uyghur Association
  22. Blue Crescent Humanitarian Aid Association
  23. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  24. Campaign for Uyghurs
  25. Canadian Coalition Against Communisms
  26. Carleton University
  27. China Against the Death Penalty
  28. China Aid
  29. China Change
  30. Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness 華人基督徒公義團契
  31. Chinese Human Rights Defenders
  32. Chulalongkorn University’s Student Union
  33. Church of Scientology National Affairs Office
  35. Coalition Burkinabè des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (CBDDH)
  36. Coalition des défenseurs des droits humains du Benin
  37. Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet – CAT
  38. Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention
  39. CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
  40. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
  41. Dialogue China
  42. Dutch Uyghur Human Rights Foundation
  43. East Turkestan Press and Media Association
  44. East Turkestan Union of Muslim Scholars
  45. East Turkistan Association in Finland
  46. East Turkistan Association of Canada
  47. East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association
  48. East Turkistan Entrepreneur Tradesmen and Industrialists Businessmen Association
  49. East Turkistan Human Rights Watch
  50. East Turkistan New Generation Movement
  51. East Turkistan Nuzugum Culture and Family Association
  52. East Turkistan Sports and Development Association
  53. East Turkistan Union in Europe
  54. Eastern Turkistan Foundation
  55. Engage Action
  56. European East Turkistan Education Association
  57. EXCUBITUSdhe
  58. Family Research Council
  59. Fédération Euro-méditerranéenne contre les disparitions Forcées
  60. Federation for a Democratic China
  61. Finnish Uyghur Culture Center
  62. Frankfurt stands with Hongkong
  63. Fundacion Aguaclara
  64. GAYa NUSANTARA Foundation
  65. Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities
  66. Green Advocates International (Liberia)
  67. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  68. Hebrew Congregation of Somers
  69. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
  70. Hirschfeld-Eddy-Stiftung
  71. Hong Kong Committee in Norway
  72. Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC)
  73. Hong Kong Global Connect
  74. Human Asia
  75. Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  76. Human Rights Watch
  77. Human Trafficking Search
  78. Humanitarian China
  79. Ilham Tohti Initiative
  80. Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council
  81. International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute
  82. International Campaign For Tibet
  83. International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC)
  84. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  85. International Pen Uyghur Center
  86. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  87. International Society for Human Rights, Chapter Munich
  88. International Support for Uyghurs
  89. International Tibet Network
  90. International Union of East Turkistan Organizations
  91. International Uyghur Human Right and Democracy Foundation
  92. IRPOO Siberia without torture
  93. Isa Yusup Alptekin Foundation
  94. Islamic Community Milli Gorus
  95. Islamic Information & Services Foundation Malaysia
  96. Japan Uyghur Association
  97. Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom
  98. Jewish World Watch
  99. Judicial Reform Foundation
  100. Justice For All
  101. Justice for Uyghurs – Switzerland
  102. Lady Lawyer Foundation
  103. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
  104. Le Comité pour la Liberté à Hong-Kong
  105. Liberty and Democracy Advocacy Club University of Calgary
  106. Malaysia4Uyghur
  107. Mamatjan Nayup
  108. Minaret Foundation
  109. Minh Van Foundation
  110. Minority Rights Group International (MRG)
  111. Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
  112. Mulmangcho
  113. National Committee of Democratic Party of China
  114. Netherlands for Hong Kong
  115. No Business With Genocide
  116. Northern California Hong Kong Club
  117. Norwegian Uyghur Committee
  118. Omer Uygur Foundation
  119. Peace Catalyst International
  120. People for Successful Corean Reunification (PSCORE)
  121. People’s Watch
  122. Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights)
  123. Planet Ally
  125. René Cassin, the Jewish voice for human rights
  126. Safeguard Defenders
  127. Satuq Bugrakhan Foundation of Science and Civilization
  128. SAVE TIBET Austria
  129. Silk Road Peace Project
  130. Society for Threatened Peoples
  131. Society Union of Uyghur National Association
  132. Solidarité Chine, Paris
  133. Solidarity Sisters Network of Liberia (SoSNoL)
  134. Stepping Stones
  135. Stop Uyghur Genocide Australia
  136. Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada
  137. Sweden Uyghur Education Union
  138. Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association
  139. Switzerland East Turkestan Association
  140. The Community Human Rights Promotion and Protection Association – ACPDH
  141. The International Women’s Alliance for Family Institution and Quality Education
  142. The Lesbian and Gay Association of Liberia (LEGAL)
  143. The Rights Practice
  144. Tibet Action Institute
  145. Tibet Justice Center
  146. Tibet Solidarity
  147. Tibet Support Group Ireland
  148. Tibetan Youth Association in Europe
  149. Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG)
  150. Uigur Society of the Kyrgyz Republic
  151. Umer Uyghur Trust
  152. Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam
  153. United Council of Vietnamese Homeland and Overseas
  154. United Macedonian Diaspora
  155. Uyghur Academy
  156. Uyghur Academy Australia
  157. Uyghur Academy Canada
  158. Uyghur Academy Europe
  159. Uyghur Academy Foundation
  160. Uyghur Academy Japan
  161. Uyghur Academy USA
  162. Uyghur American Association
  163. Uyghur Association of Victoria, Australia
  164. Uyghur Center for Human Rights and Democracy
  165. Uyghur Cultural and Education Union in Germany
  166. Uyghur Education Union
  167. Uyghur Human Rights Project
  168. Uyghur Mosque
  169. Uyghur Projects Foundation
  170. Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund
  171. Uyghur Research Institute
  172. Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project
  173. Uyghur Science and Civilization Research Foundation
  174. Uyghur Support Group Netherlands
  175. Uyghur Transitional Justice Database
  176. Uyghur U.K. Association
  177. Uyghur Youth Union in Kazakhstan
  178. Uzbekistan Uyghur Culture Center
  179. Victoria Uyghur Association
  180. Viet Democratic Side’s International Forum
  181. Vietnam Helsinki Human Rights Committee
  182. Vietnam Human Rights Day – May 11 Organization
  183. Vietnam Human Rights Network
  184. Vietnamese Nationalist Party
  185. Visual Artists Guild
  186. Witness Radio – Uganda
  187. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
  188. World Uyghur Congress
  189. World Uyghur Congress Foundation
  190. World Without Genocide
  191. Young leadership for social change network
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