China Human Rights Report Puts Liberia’s Decision on the Right Side of History – FrontPageAfrica


MONROVIA- Liberia’s decision to sign a joint statement condemning China’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council was vindicated by the recent damning human rights report released by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHRCH).

Liberia joined 46 other countries at the UN Human Rights Council on June 14 to sign the joint statement urging China to, among other things, “ensure full respect for the rule of law, comply with obligations under domestic and international human rights law and ratify the ICCPR. Further, we urge the Chinese government to provide meaningful and unimpeded access to independent monitors in Xinjiang, including special procedures. Given the gravity of the situation in Xinjiang, we call on all countries to respect the principle of non-refoulement.”

The Kingdom of Eswatini was the second African country to sign the declaration.

China is considered a major development partner of Liberia and has played an important role in Liberia’s socio-economic development. From peacekeeping missions to anti-Ebola assistance, China has often stood by Liberia at critical times.

Some fear that Liberia’s recent move on China could lead to a withdrawal of support from the world’s second-largest economy.

However, some Liberian diplomats called the decision to be in the best interest of human rights and human dignity, especially for a country recovering from gross human rights abuses.

The OHRCH report, released on August 31, published an assessment of human rights concerns in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The assessment was launched following serious allegations of human rights violations against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim communities brought to the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Office and mechanisms United Nations Human Rights Council since late 2017, particularly in the context of the Chinese government’s policies and measures to combat terrorism and “extremism”.

The assessment is based on a rigorous review of documents currently available to the Office, with its credibility assessed in accordance with standard human rights methodology. Particular attention was paid to government laws, policies, data and statements. The Office also requested information and engaged in dialogue and technical exchanges with China throughout the process.

The information has been assessed against applicable international human rights law and draws on the work of a number of United Nations human rights mechanisms.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stands ready to assist China in addressing the issues and recommendations made in the assessment.

Although China is one of Liberia’s largest development partners, the country broke a centuries-old tradition of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states by signing the declaration against China for its much-criticized record in of human rights.

The Liberian government, however, has given no reason to join the West in this condemnation.

US Ambassador to the UN in New York Linda Thomas-Greenfield says the US and its allies will continue to press for an end to the government’s ‘genocide and crimes against humanity’ against the Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang. “It is essential that all members of the Human Rights Council have the opportunity to formally discuss the findings of this report as soon as possible and that the perpetrators of these atrocities are held accountable.

NGOs kept up the pressure for the publication of the report. In September 2021, the OHCRH office said it was finalizing its assessment of the rights situation in Xinjiang ahead of its release, but it still hasn’t come to fruition. Rights groups have strongly criticized the delay.

But they welcomed the report, particularly its conclusion that the widespread arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and other mainly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang could amount to crimes against humanity. This confirms other reports already published by credible sources, including UN rapporteurs since 2017.

“The inexcusable delay in the publication of this report casts a stain on OHCHR’s record, but that should not detract from its importance,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès CallamardExternal link, while Human Rights WatchExternal link called the report “groundbreaking.” “The victims and their families whom the Chinese government has long vilified have finally had their persecution recognized and can now look to the UN and its member states for action to hold those responsible accountable,” said its deputy director of the global advocacy, John FisherExternal link in Geneva.

Uyghur Human Rights ProjectExternal link Executive Director Omer Kanat called the UN report a “game changer” for the international response to the Uyghur crisis. “Despite strong denials by the Chinese government, the UN has now officially recognized that horrific crimes are happening,” he said.

The UN report describes a “large-scale arbitrary detention pattern” in Xinjiang, in which terror suspects are held in high-security facilities without due process and for indefinite periods. China says the camps are centers for re-education and training and denies any abuse, saying it is fighting terrorism and religious extremism. The report also found “credible” allegations of torture and sexual assault, including rape, in detention centers in Xinjiang. It points to signs of forced labor, sterilizations and abortions, and suppression of religious freedom. But it does not mention a possible genocide, which some Western NGOs and parliaments have called China’s treatment of Uyghurs.


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