(Geneva) – The United States government’s decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council will sideline the country from key global initiatives to protect human rights.

“The US has been threatening to walk away from the Human Rights Council ever since President Trump came into office, so this decision comes as no surprise,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Trump has decided that ‘America First’ means ignoring the suffering of civilians in Syria and ethnic minorities in Myanmar at the United Nations.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks in the U.N. Security Council at U.N. headquarters in New York City, U.S., February 28, 2017.

© 2017 Reuters

The Human Rights Council was created by the UN General Assembly in 2006 as the UN’s top human rights body. While it has its shortcomings – including the participation of persistent rights violators such as China, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela – the council plays a vital role in addressing serious rights abuses around the world. It has initiated investigations into rights violations in Syria, Yemen, Burundi, Myanmar, and South Sudan, and addresses key topics such as migration, counterterrorism and protecting women, LGBT people, people with disabilities, and others from violence and discrimination.

The US has long criticized the Human Rights Council for its standing agenda item 7 on rights violations by all parties in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This item was included when the council’s agenda was drawn up at the conclusion of its initial year, in 2007, at a time when the US had decided not to participate in the council. The US has actively campaigned for removing agenda item 7, and has opposed resolutions dealing with the Occupied Palestinian Territories, even when not presented under this agenda item, such as a recent Special Session resolution creating an inquiry into violence in Gaza.

Negotiations about potential reform or consolidation of the council’s agenda and work program are ongoing in Geneva. The United Kingdom, which largely agrees with the US position on item 7, has announced that it will vote against all resolutions brought under that agenda item unless reforms are carried out, but it has not threatened to leave the council.

By forfeiting its membership in the council with almost 18 months remaining on its term, the US will be removing itself from key issues that could affect allied governments. No country has ever withdrawn from the council after running for election to secure a seat. It is unclear which country would take the open seat left by the US. The UN resolution creating the council provides that any successor would be another country from the group that includes Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel.

While the US government’s engagement with the council has been uneven, the US has helped shape some of the body’s decisions with the greatest impact, including to establish a commission of inquiry into grave human rights violations in North Korea. The US withdrawal risks emboldening countries like China, and other actors that regularly seek to undermine UN human rights mechanisms.

Since rejoining the Human Rights Council in 2010, the US has played a leading role on initiatives related to Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia. Following its decision to withdraw, the US may continue to advance these priorities as a non-member, or may choose to disengage entirely. But quitting the council will not allow the US to shield itself from the scrutiny of the international community, Human Rights Watch said. The UN will continue to consider a broad range of rights issues and initiatives, and conduct its Universal Periodic Review, which applies to all UN member countries.

“The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Human Rights Council is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy in which the US defends Israeli abuses from criticism above all else,” Roth said. “By walking away, the US is turning its back not just on the UN, but on victims of human rights abuses around the world, including in Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Myanmar. Now other governments will have to redouble their efforts to ensure that the council addresses the world’s most serious human rights problems.”

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Asylum seekers behind a metal fence in the ‘Hangar 1’ detention center, in Röszke, Hungary. September 9, 2015.

© 2015 Zalmaï for Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The massive refugee crisis demands an unprecedented global response. At two summits on September 19 and 20, 2016, at the United Nations, world leaders should take bold steps to share responsibility for millions of people displaced by violence, repression, and persecution.

Leaders will gather in New York to discuss providing greater support to countries where refugees first land, just as many of those countries are at breaking point. There is a grave risk to the bedrock foundation of refugee protection, the principle of nonrefoulement – not forcibly returning refugees to places where they would face persecution and other serious threats. People are fleeing violence in Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Honduras, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria, among others.

“Millions of lives hang in the balance,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “This is not just about more money or greater resettlement numbers, but also about shoring up the legal principles for protecting refugees, which are under threat as never before.”

This year, Human Rights Watch has documented Turkish border guards shooting and pushing back civilians who appear to be seeking asylum; Jordan refusing entry or assistance to Syrian asylum seekers at its border; Kenya declaring that it will close the world’s largest refugee camp in November and pushing Somalis to return home despite potential danger; and Pakistan and Iran harassing and deregistering Afghan refugees and coercing them to return to a country in conflict.

The UN General Assembly has convened the September 19 summit “with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach” to refugees. The final statement, already drafted, is a missed opportunity to widen the scope of protection and limits expectations for concrete, new commitments. However, it affirms refugee rights and calls for more equitable responsibility sharing. Given the scale of the refugee crisis and populist backlash in many parts of the world, this affirmation should be the basis for collective action, Human Rights Watch said.

On September 20, US President Barack Obama will host a “Leader’s Summit” to increase commitments for aid, refugee admissions, and opportunities for work and education for refugees. Governments are expected to make concrete pledges toward goals of doubling the number of resettlement places and other admissions, increasing aid by 30 percent, getting 1 million more refugee children in school, and granting 1 million more adult refugees the right to work. Though the participants have not been announced, 30 to 35 countries are expected to attend. Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Sweden, and Jordan will join the United States as co-facilitators.

Boost Humanitarian Aid to Countries of First Arrival
The vast majority of the world’s 21.3 million refugees are in the global south, where they often face further harm, discrimination, and neglect. Human Rights Watch called on countries of first arrival like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Thailand, Kenya, Iran, and Pakistan, to commit to proposals to provide refugees with better access to work and education.

The world’s richest nations have largely failed to help countries on the front lines of the displacement crisis. As of September 9, UN aid appeals were 39 percent funded, with some of the worst-funded in Africa; the appeal for refugees from South Sudan stands at 19 percent. The regional refugee response plans for Yemen and Syria are funded at 22 and 49 percent.

Increase Numbers Resettled in Other Countries
Resettlement from countries of first arrival is a key way to help refugees rebuild their lives and to relieve host countries, but international solidarity is glaringly absent. In 2015, the UN refugee agency facilitated resettlement of 81,000 of a projected 960,000 refugees globally in need of resettlement. The agency estimated that over 1.1 million refugees would need resettlement in 2016, but projected that countries would only offer 170,000 places. Representatives of 92 countries pledged only a slight increase in resettlement places for Syrian refugees at a high-level UN meeting in March.

In the European Union, the arrival by boat in 2015 of more than 1 million asylum seekers and migrants – and more than 3,700 deaths at sea – laid bare the need for safe and legal channels for refugees to move, such as resettlement.  However, many EU countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary, are focused primarily on preventing spontaneous arrivals, outsourcing responsibility, and rolling back refugee rights.

A July 2015 European plan to resettle 22,500 refugees from other regions over two years has resettled only 8,268 refugees, according to figures from July 2016. Most EU countries underperformed, and 10 failed to resettle a single person under the plan.

End Abusive Systems, Flawed Deals
The EU struck a deal with Turkey in March to allow the return to Turkey of almost all asylum seekers on the deeply flawed grounds that Turkey is a safe country for asylum; it is on the verge of falling apart. Australia forcibly transfers all asylum seekers who arrive by boat to offshore processing centers, where they face abuse, inhumane treatment, and neglect.

The EU and Australia should renounce these abusive policies. EU countries should swiftly adopt a proposed permanent resettlement framework with more ambitious goals and a clear commitment to meet them, Human Rights Watch said. They should share fairly the responsibility for asylum seekers arriving spontaneously, and help alleviate the pressure on Greece and Italy.

Governments also undermine asylum with closed camps, as in Kenya and Thailand, and by detaining asylum seekers, as do Australia, Greece, Italy, Mexico, and the United States.

While by many measures the US leads in refugee resettlement and response to UN humanitarian aid appeals, it has been particularly slow and ungenerous in admitting Syrian refugees. And it has had notable blind spots, as with its border policies for Central American children and others fleeing gang violence and its use of Mexico as a buffer to keep them from reaching the US border.

The Obama Administration met its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year in the face of opposition from more than half of US governors and a lack of resettlement funds from Congress, but the US has the capacity to resettle many times that number. It should commit to meeting the Leaders’ Summit goals, which would mean doubling this year’s 85,000 total refugee admissions to 170,000.

Several other countries with capacity to admit far more refugees, including Brazil, Japan, and South Korea, have fallen woefully short. Japan admitted 19 refugees in 2015, South Korea only 42 aside from North Koreans, and Brazil only 6.

Russia resettles no refugees. The Gulf States do not respond to UN resettlement appeals, though Saudi Arabia says it has suspended deportations of hundreds of thousands of Syrians who overstay visitor visas. Most Gulf states, except Kuwait, have also fallen short in their response to Syrian-refugee-related UN appeals to fund refugee needs, according to an Oxfam analysis.

“Every country has a moral responsibility to ensure the rights and dignity of people forced to flee their homes,” Roth said. “When more than 20 million people are counting on a real international effort to address their plight, lofty pronouncements are not enough.”

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, has specialized expertise on the United Nations, particularly UN peacekeeping, and the Balkans. Hicks is responsible for coordinating Human Rights Watch's advocacy team and providing direction to advocacy worldwide. Before joining Human Rights Watch in 2005, Hicks served as director of the Office for Returns and Communities in the UN mission in Kosovo. She has also worked for the International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights), the Deputy High Representative for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the former Yugoslavia, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and as clinical professor of human rights and refugee law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Hicks is a graduate of Columbia Law School and the University of Michigan.

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

People walk past destruction from government airstrikes in the town of Ariha, in Idlib province, Syria, January 15, 2020.

© 2020 AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed

In late December, United Nations member countries defeated an attempt by Russia to block funding for investigations into grave abuses in Syria, approving US$17.81 million for a team of investigators responsible for gathering evidence of serious crimes for future prosecutions and ensuring they have the resources necessary to do the work.

The UN General Assembly created the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) in 2016 in response to a stalemate at the UN Security Council, where Russia had used its veto  six times since 2011 to block action on the Syrian conflict. Since 2016, Russia has used its veto eight more times to the same effect. But Moscow was unable to prevent the IIIM’s creation in the General Assembly or block its inclusion in the UN budget.

Since its establishment, one key hurdle to the team’s work had been raising the necessary funds to carry out its mandate. Until now, it had relied on voluntary contributions from individual countries, including to recruit professional staff and to set up vital security systems. The reliance on voluntary contributions put its crucial work at risk, making it difficult for the team to plan and organize its work. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sought to change that by adding it to his proposed regular budget as mandated by the General Assembly.

For months, Russia has apparently been working to undermine the team, and diplomats were bracing for a battle at the General Assembly’s budget committee over the resourcing issue. Russia and Syria tried to sabotage the funding effort by arguing that the IIIM is illegal. They proposed amendments that would have scrubbed the mechanism from the UN’s budget, supported by a cadre of states including China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and Myanmar (who was itself challenging funding for the IIIM’s sister mechanism on Myanmar).

But each attempt was successfully voted down under the leadership of the European Union, United States, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Qatar, Turkey, and others. While Russia and Syria made clear that they disassociated themselves from all references to the IIIM in the final budget, their campaign was defeated.

Weakening accountability mechanisms through UN budgetary means is an overlooked but potentially effective tactic, one to which both China and Russia appear committed. That this was averted here is something to celebrate. There will undoubtedly be obstacles ahead and the path to justice is frustratingly long, but this is an important step to ensuring abuses are well-documented and perpetrators are identified in efforts to bring justice to victims in Syria.

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

ABC's editorial director Craig McMurtrie speaks to the media as Australian police raided the headquarters of public broadcaster in Sydney on June 5, 2019. 

© Peter Parks / AFP
(Sydney) – Australia’s sweeping national security laws and police actions against journalists and whistleblowers are having a chilling effect on freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020.

Refugee rights, indigenous rights, and aged care are, among other issues, raising concerns. Australia has demonstrated some progress in its performance at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.  

“Australia’s national security laws shouldn’t be used to intimidate the media or those holding the government to account,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government seems intent on sending a message to officials not to share information with journalists.”

In the 652-page World Report 2020, its 30th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in nearly 100 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth says that the Chinese government, which depends on repression to stay in power, is carrying out the most intense attack on the global human rights system in decades. He finds that Beijing’s actions both encourage and gain support from autocratic populists around the globe, while Chinese authorities use their economic clout to deter criticism from other governments. It is urgent to resist this assault, which threatens decades of progress on human rights and our future. 

In 2019, police raided the Sydney headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the home of a News Corp journalist over reports about war crimes in Afghanistan and surveillance in Australia respectively. Closed court proceedings continued against a whistleblower, “Witness K,” and his lawyer for secrecy breaches regarding exposures of alleged wrongdoing by the Australian government concerning trade negotiations with Timor-Leste.

About 600 refugees and asylum seekers who have been sent to Papua New Guinea and Nauru under Australia’s offshore processing system remain in legal limbo there after six years. In 2019, the government transferred about 170 refugees to Australia under a medical evacuation (medevac) law that enabled refugees and asylum seekers in ill-health who cannot get appropriate care in Papua New Guinea or Nauru to come to Australia. But in December, the government repealed the law, baselessly claiming it was necessary for border security.

“Repealing the medevac law was a cruel political maneuver that makes it more difficult for refugees and asylum seekers with serious illnesses – victims of offshore processing operations – to get the care they need,” Pearson said.

Indigenous Australians remain significantly overrepresented in the criminal justice system, and people with disabilities are particularly at risk of neglect and abuse. In February, in Perth’s Hakea prison, prisoners beat to death an Aboriginal man with a mental health condition. At least two Aboriginal men with mental health conditions committed suicide in Western Australia prisons in 2019.

A royal commission into abuse and neglect of people with disabilities began hearings. Another royal commission found Australia’s aged care system to be “a shocking tale of neglect,” and recommended immediate action on the rampant practice of chemical restraint: using drugs to control people’s behavior in aged care facilities. A government regulation that went into force in July purported to minimize the use of physical and chemical restraints, but may in fact simply normalize the practice, Human Rights Watch said.

At the UN Human Rights Council, Australia took the lead on a joint statement bringing attention to human rights violations by Saudi Arabia and ensuring the council renewed the mandate of the UN expert on human rights in Eritrea.

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

A Haitian woman was selling charcoal on the empty edges of her small town when a white, uniformed United Nations peacekeeper offered her a lift in his marked vehicle. He raped her shortly after she got in. “I could not fight back,” said Marie Badeau (a pseudonym) when I interviewed her in 2016, more than four years after the rape. “I felt outside of my body like I did not have all my senses.”

After we talked, she introduced me to her daughter conceived from the rape. The four-year-old had notably paler skin and hair than Badeau. “I just tell people it’s none of their business … when they look at her funny,” she said.

Though Badeau loves her daughter unconditionally, the young mother’s depression deepened whenever the girl complained of hunger.

An academic paper published in December by the journal International Peacekeeping suggests that Badeau is one of many poor Haitian women struggling with the long-term emotional and financial consequences of raising a child born from a peacekeeper father. The women were poor to begin with and find themselves even worse off now. Of the 2,500 community members interviewed by the researchers about living in towns with peacekeepers, 10 percent raised – without prompting – the issue of children fathered by the soldiers. The notoriety of the many nicknames for these children suggest both their prevalence and stigmatization, the researchers said.

For years, the Associated Press and other media outlets have published credible reports of sexual abuse and exploitation by the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti, which concluded its operations in 2017. The details are shocking.

“Sexual exploitation and abuse” is a broad term that includes crimes like rape but also violations of the UN’s ban on any sexual relationships that include “abuse of position of vulnerability,” which essentially covers the local population everywhere UN peacekeepers deploy. Poverty, conflict and chaos all make women and girls profoundly vulnerable to abuse by UN soldiers. Stigma, along with steep barriers to obtaining contraception and safe abortions (in Haiti abortion is completely prohibited), make even consensual relationships more dangerous.

Haiti is just one of many countries where peacekeepers have raped women and girls, or sexually exploited them in exchange for food or support. My colleagues have also reported on rape by African Union forces in Somalia, French and UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic and UN troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While the UN can investigate allegations of sexual abuse and rape, peacekeeper accountability is up to the country that sends the troops. As a result, prosecutions have been rare even after media coverage and outrage.

In recent years, the UN has stepped up its efforts to tackle the issue and push on the troop contributing countries. In 2015, the UN began publishing the nationalities of soldiers alleged to have sexually exploited and abused women and girls. It also established a trust fund and programs for psychological care, job training and other services for victims, including children fathered by peacekeepers. In 2017, the UN established a global “Victim Rights Advocate” and embedded victim advocates within peacekeeping missions. Annual reports and logged case updates are publicly available.

Badeau told me she was too ashamed to report her situation and didn’t know how she could. She had not sought out post-rape care for similar reasons. The UN’s new resources for survivors may explain the increase in reports, including older cases. Affordable or free legal assistance has improved in some places but remains patchy.

The need to better provide rape and sexual abuse survivors with long-term psychological assistance is well-established. Less clear is what the children born of rape or relationships with peacekeepers will need over the years to come. More research is needed. Children of peacekeeper fathers should have the opportunity to obtain their biological parent’s nationality, a rare occurrence but one that has happened at least once, in Uruguay.  

UN efforts have led to some improvements by troop and police contributing countries such as more training and troop vetting ahead of deployment. Some countries have tried new approaches. South Africa holds courts-martial in the same locale as the victim, to improve access to witnesses and evidence, and ensure that justice is seen to be done.

But countries need to do more. The UN has requested they appoint paternity focal points in the forces who can collect DNA and help mothers negotiate the legal system of the contributing country. Most don’t. Some countries’ legal systems need to be updated to better hold soldiers accountable for their behavior when deployed. For example, some governments still do not accept paternity claims. And more women police and soldiers should be included in peacekeeping forces.    

In the meantime, it’s crucial that the UN, the media and civil society groups continue to exert pressure on countries that contribute peacekeepers to respond to abuse allegations more seriously and more transparently. Otherwise, prosecutions of crimes will remain the exception.

For decades, desperate civilians have sought UN peacekeepers to alleviate some of the worst horrors of our times. Survivors of violence, displacement and poverty shouldn’t have to fear that those charged with protecting them will contribute to their suffering.

Skye Wheeler is a senior researcher in the women’s rights division of Human Rights Watch.

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza Montserrat listens during the opening of the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva on September 11, 2017. 

© 2017 Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP
Thank you, Mr. President,

We thank the High Commissioner for her oral update, which is both timely and sobering, and confirms that the human rights situation in Venezuela remains dire and that grave violations are ongoing.

It is unfortunate that the delegation of Venezuela began its response today by rejecting a Human Rights Council resolution, and dismissing all critique of the human rights situation in the country, suggesting it is politically-motivated, reflective of double standards, and based on lies and false statements. 

For the situation in any country to improve, the first step is for the state concerned to acknowledge its human rights challenges and commit to addressing them. What we did not hear in Venezuela’s statement today was any acceptance of government responsibility for extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture or violation of the rights to health, food or education. The Ambassador’s statement that “there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela” is disconnected from reality.

We are concerned at the lack of any progress towards country visits by a representative range of UN Special Procedures.

While any engagement with OHCHR is to be welcomed, it is not an end in itself. The success of engagement can only be measured by results, and in particular what concrete steps Venezuela has taken to implement the recommendations in the High Commissioner’s report, end violations, advance human rights, and hold those responsible to account.

Engagement and accountability are complementary, not mutually exclusive. Accountability is an essential element of any efforts to resolving the rights crisis in the country.

We welcome the recent appointment of members of the Fact-finding Mission. Venezuela chose to run for HRC membership, and was elected by a narrow margin. Council membership carries obligations – the most basic of which is to cooperate with Council mechanisms. If Venezuela refuses to cooperate with the Fact-finding Mission, it is in contempt of its responsibilities as a member, and should face consequences.

We look forward to further updates and reporting by the High Commissioner, including on progress towards creating a full-fledged country office, Venezuela’s degree of cooperation with the Fact-finding Mission and UN Special Procedures, and implementation in full of the recommendations in the High Commissioner’s report, including meaningful accountability.

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Human Rights Watch welcomes the new report of the UN Human Rights Office on the situation in Ukraine. We urge the Ukrainian authorities to embrace its recommendations as a matter of priority.

We are concerned that the government continues to require people living in non-government controlled areas to register as internally displaced and regularly travel to government controlled areas to access social benefits. This creates unnecessary hardship for many older people in accessing pensions, while those unable to regularly cross could not access their pensions at all. Lack of basic facilities at some crossing points remains a problem. Over a dozen people, mostly elderly, died from health complications in 2019 while trying to cross the line of contact.

We join the condemnation by the UN Monitoring Mission of unlawful conscription by Russian authorities in occupied Crimea, and the sanctioning of those who refuse to comply. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, an occupying power may not compel residents of the occupied territory to serve in its armed or auxiliary forces. It also explicitly prohibits any “pressure or propaganda which aims at securing voluntary enlistment.” Russia should immediately cease these practices and release Crimeans who have been forced to serve in the Russian forces.

Independent media remain under pressure in Ukraine. This year, again, dozens of journalists were attacked, injured, threatened, or prosecuted on dubious charges. In June, investigative journalist Vadym Komarov died from severe head injuries he sustained in a May attack. The organizers of the attack against activist Kateryna Handziuk, who died in November 2018 from the wounds sustained from an acid attack, are yet to be identified. Groups advocating hate and discrimination continue to put ethnic minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and rights activists at risk. While law enforcement made demonstrable efforts to protect women’s rights rallies in March and the Equality March in June, on other occasions they failed to protect vulnerable groups. The authorities should bring those responsible for such attacks to justice.

President Zelensky’s pledge to curb corruption and end the conflict with Russia should go hand in hand with a commitment to address key human rights concerns. The recommendations included in HCHRO report should be a roadmap for his administration.

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Children pan for gold along the Bosigon River in Malaya, Camarines Norte. 
 

© 2015 Mark Z. Saludes for Human Rights Watch

In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment.

Millions of adults and children around the world suffer abuses as workers who obtain raw materials, toil on farms, and make products for the global market. They are at the bottom of global supply chains, for everything from everyday goods like vegetables and seafood to luxury items like jewelry and designer clothing that end up on store shelves worldwide.

“Ruth,” age 13, is one of them. We met her processing gold by mixing toxic mercury with her bare hands into ground-up gold ore near a mine, during our research in the Philippines. She told us that she had  been working since she was 9, after dropping out of school, though she often doesn’t get paid by the man who gave her bags of gold ore to process.

It’s dangerous being on the lowest rung of this global ladder. In 2013, over 1,100 workers died and 2,000 were injured when the Rana Plaza building, which housed five garment factories, collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Since then, some progress has been made in making factories safer in Bangladesh, but there have not yet been sustainable reforms there or in other countries. To keep up with the demands of consumers, women experience a range of labor abuses in Bangladesh and elsewhere.

In January 2019, the Brumadinho tailings dam in Brazil collapsed, killing at least 250 people—mostly workers—and unleashed a wave of toxic sludge. The dam had collected waste from a mine extracting iron ore, which is used globally in construction, engineering, automotive, and other industries.

In December 2019, more than 40 people, mostly workers, died in a factory fire in India’s capital, Delhi. Workers were asleep inside the factory, which makes school bags, when the fire erupted.

The era in which voluntary initiatives were the only way to encourage companies to respect human rights is starting to give way to the recognition that new, legally enforceable laws are needed. Although the debates vary by country, the overall trend is promising for the workers and communities that are part of multinational corporate supply chains.

Increasingly, lawmakers are acknowledging that companies need to take human rights—including freedom from unsafe working conditions, forced labor, and wage theft—into account, and are writing laws that require them to do so.

Multinational corporations, some of the wealthiest and most powerful entities in the world— 69 of the richest 100 entities in the world are corporations, not countries—have often escaped accountability when their operations have hurt workers, the surrounding communities, or the environment.

And governments aligned with powerful companies have frequently failed to regulate corporate activity, or have not enforced and even eliminated existing protections for workers, consumers, and the environment.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide voluntary guidelines for companies on their human rights responsibilities, but they aren’t enforceable. Industry-driven voluntary standards and certification schemes, which have grown rapidly in recent years, can be useful, but are not sufficient: many companies will only act when they are required to do so by law.

These standards also don’t cover key human rights and environmental issues in companies’ supply chains, and the systems for monitoring compliance with the standards haven’t always been able to catch and rectify problems.

Both the Rana Plaza factory and the Brumadinho dam had been inspected by auditors hired by the companies just months before disaster struck.

In recent years, France, the Netherlands, Australia, and the UK have passed laws on corporate human rights abuses. But some of the existing laws don’t have any teeth. Australia and the UK, for example, merely require companies to be transparent about their supply chains and report any actions they may have taken to address issues like forced or child labor, but do not actually require them to prevent or remedy these issues. Furthermore, neither country has penalties  for companies that don’t comply with the law.

France’s 2017 law is the broadest and most rigorous regulation currently in effect, requiring companies to identify and prevent both human rights and environmental impacts in their supply chains, including the companies they control directly and those with which they work.

Companies in France published the first “vigilance plans” under this law in 2018. Failure to comply can result in lawsuits, and the first legal action under the duty of vigilance law was filed in October 2019.

Laws like the one in France, with requirements for company action, consequences when they fail to follow through, and a way for workers to hold companies accountable, open the door for greater protections for workers around the world.

The year 2020 promises more progress for more people. Parliaments in Germany, Switzerland, DenmarkCanadaNorwayFinland, and Austria are considering laws that would change the way that companies deal with human rights in their global operations, going beyond transparency and reporting to requirements to identify human rights risks in corporate supply chains and to take steps to prevent them.

In a related development, the International Labour Organization is considering whether a new binding global convention on “decent work in global supply chains” is needed, and will hold a meeting with government, trade union, and employer representatives in 2020 to explore this question.

By adopting robust supply chain regulation, countries will create a new international expectation for responsible behavior for businesses, and more rigorous human rights safeguards for millions of workers, like Ruth, who struggle to survive in their mines, factories, and fields.

Author: Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

A Uighur woman picking up school children rides past a picture showing China's President Xi Jinping joining hands with a group of Uighur elders at the Unity New Village in Hotan, in western China's Xinjiang region, September 20, 2018.

© 2018 AP Photo/Andy Wong, File
As we approach the last days of the decade, it’s important to reflect on the fight for human rights, the setbacks and successes over the past year in Australia and around the world.

Our list isn’t ranked, and far from exhaustive – we acknowledge it doesn’t include many human rights struggles worthy of greater attention. But, in flagging some of the issues needing urgent attention, we hope to gather support for the broader movement that strives to achieve justice and secure dignity for more people.

China holding one million Muslims in ‘political education camps’

China is arbitrarily detaining an estimated one million Muslims in Xinjiang, in what the authorities call “political education camps.” Millions more are subjected to intrusive mass surveillance.

Leaked internal Chinese Communist Party documents described in chilling detail just how the Chinese authorities keep the Uighurs locked up.

The size of your beard, where you travel and whether you use the back door of the house are all potentially indicators of “terrorism” that can send you to the camps with no legal process at all.

The leaked documents are consistent with previous reporting on Xinjiang, but reveal the campaign originated from President Xi Jinping himself. They dispel the Chinese government’s claims these camps are merely “vocational training centers.”

More than two dozen countries joined two United Nations statements in Geneva and New York urging China to end this arbitrary detention of Muslims.

In response, China organised several dozen countries, including notorious rights abusers such as Russia, Egypt, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to join statements commending China for its counter-terrorism efforts.

Faced with the growing body of evidence of large-scale human rights violations backed by China’s leadership, the question is whether the rest of the world will hold the Chinese government to account in 2020.

Some women in Saudi Arabia can travel freely

Following unprecedented global attention on Saudi Arabia’s discriminatory male guardianship system, which restricts women’s rights to travel (among other things), Saudi authorities undertook reform.

At last, Saudi women over 21 years old have the right to travel abroad freely and obtain passports without permission from their male guardian. But this is a shallow victory for Saudi women, who still face myriad rights abuses at home.

Activists remain locked up for peaceful acts of free expression, some alleging they have been tortured.

The Saudi government also hasn’t taken meaningful steps to provide accountability for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, or for their alleged war crimes in Yemen.

Australia’s performance on the UN Human Rights Council

After initially taking a low-key approach to its membership in the UN Human Rights Council, Australia stepped up in its second year. This was to ensure the council renewed the mandate of the special rapporteur on Eritrea, where human rights continue to deteriorate.

In September, Australia led a joint statement bringing attention to human rights violations by Saudi Arabia, and the government joined two UN statements on Xinjiang.

In 2020, the final year of Australia’s membership term, the government should keep up the pressure on Saudi Arabia and China by pressing for independent international inquiries into longstanding abuses.

Aged care: a shocking tale of neglect

“A shocking tale of neglect” was the headline of the Royal Commission’s interim report into the Australian aged care system.

Tabled in the federal parliament in October, the report revealed more than 270,000 cases of substandard care in Australian nursing homes in the past five years. It argued for a major overhaul to transform the way Australia supports people as they grow older.

One of the issues the commission heard testimony on was the routine use of drugs to control the behaviour of older people with dementia, without a medical purpose.

This practice is known as chemical restraint, and the drugs have devastating effects. They increase the risks of falls or strokes, and can render previously energetic people lethargic and, in some cases, unable to speak.

Human Rights Watch report detailed the practice in 35 aged care facilities in Australia, and its impact on residents and their families.

It called for the government to prohibit chemical restraint and ensure adequate staffing with appropriate training to support people with dementia.

Water rights under threat in Australia

Australians saw the haunting image of dead and dying fish in Australia’s most important river system, the Murray Darling.

Scientists concluded exceptional climatic conditions influence this “serious ecological shock” in a river system that now has very little water to serve the needs of people, agriculture and a fragile environment.

The right to clean drinking water, recognised under international human rights law, is already under threat for people in some rural and remote communities across New South Wales and Queensland. And it will become more relevant as droughts exacerbated by climate change continue to bite Australian cities and towns.

In the Northern Territory community of Laramba, 250 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs, the level of uranium in the drinking water is more than double the level recommended in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. It prompted legal action against the territory’s government.

What’s more, for the first time since records were kept, on November 11 no rain was recorded on continental Australia.

Youth-led climate justice movements

One of this year’s most refreshing developments was the youth-led action on climate change. It brought together environment and human rights concerns, inspiring an estimated 300,000 Australians to join a global strike in September.

For some, it was a way to demonstrate outrage at the federal government’s weak position and lack of action to address climate change.

For others, the enormous fires in the precious Amazon forest, fuelled by violence and impunity, was compelling.

And, of course, many were moved to strike because the brave and passionate voices of Greta Thunberg and other children who are demanding action for the sake of future generations.

We hear them loud and clear – and call on Australia’s leaders to listen and act.

Louise Chappell is director of the Australian Human Rights Institute and Professor of Law at UNSW. Elaine Pearson is the Australia director of Human Rights Watch.

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

The UN Security Council holds a meeting on November 20, 2019, at United Nations headquarters in New York.

© 2019 AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

For the second year in a row, the United States has prevented the United Nations Security Council from scrutinizing North Korea’s abysmal human rights record, sending a clear message to Pyongyang and other abusive governments that the US is prepared to look away regarding rights violations. 

The special Security Council meeting was set to convene today, to coincide with Human Rights Day. Earlier this month it appeared the Council had the minimum number of member votes – nine, including the US – for the meeting to happen. But on December 6, US Ambassador Kelly Craft told reporters her delegation had not yet decided whether to go ahead with the meeting

According to Foreign Policy, the about-face was an attempt by President Trump to preserve efforts to persuade Pyongyang to abandon nuclear weapons ahead of next year’s US presidential election.

The move signals the Trump administration doesn’t consider North Korea’s human rights violations to be a big deal.

The Council plans to hold a different meeting on North Korea later this week, focused on the country’s weapons proliferation activities. While some delegations may raise Pyongyang’s rights record in their speeches, that is no substitute for a meeting devoted to human rights.

North Korea has always hated the annual Security Council meetings focused on its widespread use of arbitrary detention, starvation, torture, summary executions, sexual violence and other crimes against the North Korean people. Last year, North Korea’s UN envoy called the meetings, held annually between 2014 and 2017, an attempt to “stoke confrontation.”

That message was apparently received, as the Council abandoned the annual meeting last year. That inaction sent a message to North Korea’s leadership that human rights had become a second-tier issue.

In 2014, a UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on North Korea said in a report that Pyongyang’s abuses were so severe the Security Council should refer the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The UN Human Rights Council mandated a UN office to collect evidence of abuses for possible use in future prosecutions. 

Kim Jong Un and other senior North Korean officials will undoubtedly be elated they can duck US criticism of their human rights record once again this year. In the meantime, the rest of the Security Council should find a way to resume the North Korea human rights meetings even without the Trump administration’s support.

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Screenshot from a video showing a photo of a prisoner working at Uzbekistan's Jaslyk prison.

© 2019 VOA

(Berlin) – Uzbekistan should carry out the United Nations Committee Against Torture’s recommendations to end the “widespread, routine torture and ill-treatment” in the country, Human Rights Watch said today.

The committee’s review of Uzbekistan under the Convention against Torture highlighted that the steps Tashkent has taken to curb the use of torture have been insufficient. Urgent further measures should include full implementation of a ban on the use of torture-tainted evidence in court, opening criminal trials to the public, and rehabilitating former political prisoners tortured while in jail.

“The UN committee findings are a wake-up call to the realities of human rights in Uzbekistan today,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The reforms led by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev are important, but this report shows that key pillars of the country’s abusive, authoritarian system are still in place.”

Human Rights Watch has over many years documented the use of torture in detention in Uzbekistan, including beatings with rubber truncheons and water-filled bottles, electric shock, hanging by wrists and ankles, rape and sexual humiliation, asphyxiation with plastic bags and gas masks, threats of physical harm to relatives, and denial of food or water. It has also documented cases since President Mirziyoyev came to power in September 2016.

The committee, which held hearings with the Uzbek government and Uzbek regional and international nongovernmental groups in November in preparation for its December 6 report, said that “complaints of torture received by the prosecutor’s office increased tenfold from 2017 to 2018.” It said it was concerned however that “the number of cases in which officials were prosecuted for torture did not increase at a commensurate rate.” No specific data was provided.

The committee said it was aware of reports of an unspecified number of deaths in prison as a result of torture.

The committee said it “remains deeply concerned at reports that torture and ill-treatment continue to be routinely committed by, at the instigation of and with the consent of the State party’s law enforcement, investigative and prison officials, principally for the purpose of extracting confessions or information to be used in criminal proceedings.”

The committee welcomed important legal steps by President Mirziyoyev and his government to “reduce incentives to perpetuate torture and [that] make it mandatory for procuratorial authorities and courts to verify reports of torture.” These included banning the use of torture-tainted evidence in court. It expressed concern, however, over continued reports that judges and prosecutors “tend to disregard and decline to investigate” allegations that confessions were obtained through torture. Prosecutors and judges should in future ask all defendants in criminal cases “whether they were tortured,” the committee said.

The committee said that Uzbek authorities should collect data on its steps to reduce incentives to use torture and make the data public. It also expressed concern that confessions had been used in a number of criminal trials in which defendants alleged torture and that trials of people accused of committing torture were held behind closed doors. Criminal trials should be “open to the public” the committee said.

The release from prison of “a substantial number of human rights defenders and journalists since September 2016” was welcomed by the committee. However, it criticized Uzbek authorities’ rulings that all of the claims of torture and arbitrary detention by these former political prisoners were “unsubstantiated.” The committee said Uzbekistan should take steps to “exonerate” those convicted in unfair trials or on the basis of torture-tainted evidence; provide them with “redress, including compensation and rehabilitation”; and should “consider creating an independent commission to investigate these matters.”

It criticized the government’s rejection of an application by a group of former political prisoners to establish a nongovernmental group focused on rehabilitation.

The committee addressed other key issues, stating that:

  • It was concerned about allegations of torture against Kadyr Yusupov, a retired Uzbek diplomat in jail on treason charges.
  • It welcomed the closure in August of Jaslyk prison, but said it should be permanently closed, not turned into a pretrial detention facility. Authorities should conduct an “independent inquiry into allegations of torture and ill-treatment” at Jaslyk and ensure that victims “obtain redress” and that the public is given access to the prison archives.
  • It was concerned at the “continued weakness and inefficiency of the judiciary” and the “lack of independence” from the Justice Ministry of Uzbekistan’s lawyers’ association.
  • It was concerned that human rights defenders had been involuntarily committed to psychiatric hospitals “to prevent them from conducting their work.” Cases cited include that of Nafosat Ollashukurova, hospitalized in this way since September. It was concerned over reports of forced labor in the cotton fields, including that “an estimated 170,000 adults were forced to work” in the 2018 cotton harvest.
  • It was concerned over reports that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are tortured in prison and persecuted by police, including through “entrapment schemes.”

The committee said the Uzbek government had given “assurances” that “an invitation to visit is being extended to the UN special rapporteur on torture,” who has not been allowed to visit the country since 2002.

Uzbekistan’s international partners should raise the report’s findings with the government and should stress that closer relations with Uzbekistan will be tied to concrete progress on these issues, Human Rights Watch said.

“As Uzbekistan is aware, the use of torture is completely banned under international human rights law,” Williamson said. “Uzbekistan needs to prioritize urgent action against torture in order to stop this terrible practice once and for all.”

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

Kim Jong-Un watches a performance in Pyongyang, North Korea, on February 23, 2017.

© 2017 Reuters/KCNA

The United Nations Security Council has an opportunity this month to refocus attention on North Korea’s abysmal human rights record after giving it a pass last year.

If all goes according to plan, on December 10 – Human Rights Day – at least 9 of the council’s 15 members will vote to hold a debate to discuss the regime’s abuses.

Last year, when a similar debate was under consideration, the council dropped the ball. This may have been due, in part, to summits in 2017 and 2018 between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the presidents of the United States and South Korea, which focused on weapons proliferation issues, not human rights. The council’s inaction sent a message to North Korea’s leadership that rights had reverted to a second-tier issue, which was probably music to Kim Jong Un’s ears.

It’s time to correct that mistake. In the years since a historic UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) report in 2014, which documented a litany of North Korea’s crimes against humanity and other serious rights violations, the UN system has been intensifying its attention to the regime’s record. The UN Human Rights Council has mandated a UN office to collect evidence of abuses for possible use in future prosecutions. And in Security Council debates in December 2014, 2015, and 2016, the council considered proposals by member states –unfortunately blocked by China – to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.  

This December 10, it is crucial that the council sends Kim Jong Un the message that most of the world is appalled by his government’s abuses and will continue to seek justice.

Inaction and silence would be reckless. The totalitarianism of North Korea and its human rights abuses are inextricably linked to the government’s weapons proliferation. Furthermore, most council members agree that North Korea represents an ongoing threat of instability that undermines international peace and security. As the UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, Tomas Ojea Quintana, recently told the UN General Assembly: “This is not an agenda that can be deferred.”

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

The 36th Session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. 

© 2017 Reuters

(Geneva) – United Nations member countries offered strong criticism and scores of recommendations addressing Egypt’s human rights crisis at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on November 13, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today.

During the review, countries across all regions called on Egypt to end torture and ill-treatment, investigate crimes committed by security forces, allow nongovernmental organizations and activists to work independently, and protect human rights while countering terrorism. Many countries also said that Egypt should halt executions and review its laws to minimize or end the use of the death penalty. Several countries said that Egypt should take more serious measures to halt violence against women, including by criminalizing domestic violence and by prosecuting those responsible for female genital mutilation, which is still widely practiced.

“The strong criticism of Egypt from countries across the world shows the international community is waking up to the human rights crisis in Egypt,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s important for these countries to follow-up with Egypt directly to take concrete measures to adopt their recommendations.”

Established in 2006, the Universal Periodic Review involves a comprehensive review of the human rights records of all UN member states by other countries in a rotation every four and a half years. Local and international organizations, as well as the country under review, have the opportunity to contribute reports to inform the review process.

Following each review, a group of three member states collaborate with the state under review, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will produce an “outcome report” that includes the recommendations presented and the responses of the state under review.

Egypt has several months to accept or reject the recommendations. The Human Right Council will adopt the UPR report, including the recommendations, at its session in March 2020. More than 130 countries offered 372 recommendations. Unlike previous UPR cycles, Egypt did not immediately accept any recommendations, and said it will use the time available to consider them. Egypt should accept all substantive recommendations to improve its human rights record, and UN experts, member states, and agencies should continue pressing Egypt to halt its violations, Human Rights Watch said.

Although Egypt accepted recommendations to improve its human rights record during previous UPR cycles, and promised several times to amend its laws to strictly prohibit and punish torture, the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has moved in the opposite direction. Since assuming office, the al-Sisi government has issued more laws that grant impunity for army and police officers and has generally failed to transparently investigate and prosecute serious human rights violations, including apparent crimes against humanity.

The head of the Egyptian government delegation, Omar Marwan, claimed during the November 13 review that “Egypt had exerted its utmost efforts for the past five years to implement the [earlier] recommendations.” In its previous review in 2014, Egypt accepted 224 out of 300 recommendations. However, the government carried out few of these recommendations and human rights violations have since dramatically escalated.

Countries at the Human Rights Council should continue to exert pressure on Egypt to reform its human rights record, including by expressing concerns through collective statements during upcoming sessions of the council in 2020.

Human Rights Watch made two submissions to the current review. A general submission examined the severe deterioration of human rights since Egypt’s last review in 2014 and a joint submission with the Egyptian Front for Human Rights, an independent Czech-based group, detailed war crimes and serious rights abuses by government forces and armed groups in North Sinai.

A few weeks before this review session, following nationwide anti-government protests that erupted on September 20, the Egyptian authorities rounded up over 4,300 people in one of the largest sweeps in the country since late 2013. The mass arrests included well-known figures and activists, and sometimes included their relatives.

Leading human rights activists in Egypt were not able to participate in the review session since the authorities have banned most of them from leaving the country for the past four years, and have relentlessly prosecuted them under criminal charges in violation of their basic rights and liberties.

In October, Gamal Eid, a leading rights activist and lawyer, was physically assaulted in Cairo by armed men under circumstances that indicate the involvement of state security agencies. That month, authorities also detained prominent human rights lawyer Mohamed al-Baqer. Egypt’s authorities have kept Ibrahim Ezz el-Din, a researcher with the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, in incommunicado detention since they arrested him in June.

“Egyptian authorities’ flagrant abuses only days before the UN review session shows the utter disregard this government has for human rights,” Stork said. “It will only act to uphold rights when other governments step up the pressure.”

Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

China’s struggle to explain away the detention of at least one million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang has become much more difficult in recent days. The latest development is the New York Times’ publication of two dozen internal government documents that show that the brutal crackdown is systematic and driven by China’s top leadership, including President Xi Jinping. 

For over a year, the Chinese government has rejected compelling evidence from journalists and organizations like Human Rights Watch detailing mass arbitrary detention, torture and other mistreatment of Turkic Muslims, as well as hyper-intrusive surveillance and increasingly pervasive controls on daily life. 

Lately, Beijing has moved away from denials and started painting its persecution of Xinjiang’s Muslims as a tremendous success. A Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters that because of “preventive counterterrorism and de-extremism measures,” Xinjiang had not had a violent terrorist incident for three years.

That shift in its story may be because the government is increasingly on the defensive. Last month, Britain’s United Nations Ambassador Karen Pierce delivered a stinging public rebuke of China’s Xinjiang policies to a UN General Assembly committee on behalf of two dozen countries, including France, Germany, the United States and predominantly Muslim Albania. They called on Beijing to end the human rights violations and grant the UN’s human rights chief “immediate unfettered, meaningful access to Xinjiang.” The statement echoed one that 25 countries sent to the UN Human Rights Council in July.

That’s not all. Earlier this month, a dozen UN rights experts issued an unprecedented and devastating assessment of the Chinese government’s use of its counterterrorism law to justify persecution in Xinjiang, warning that the “disproportionate emphasis placed by the authorities on the repression of rights of minorities risks worsening any security risk.”

Unsurprisingly, Beijing managed to round up a cluster of countries to sing its praises. At October’s UN committee meeting, Belarus responded to Ambassador Pierce by saying that 54 countries joined together to “commend China's remarkable achievements in the field of human rights.”

On the surface, it would appear that China is surrounded by friends. A closer look reveals a different story. Egregious human rights abusers like Russia, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Myanmar doubtlessly support China’s brutal suppression of a large ethnic minority under the pretext of “counter-terrorism.”

But there are others on China’s list that don’t fit that category, such as Serbia, Palestine, Oman, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Several well-placed UN diplomats told Human Rights Watch that China used strong-arm tactics to pressure countries to back the Belarus statement, including threats of economic retaliation. It added “backers” of the Belarus statement without consulting governments to make refusal more difficult. At least one country formally requested that it be removed from the official list of supporters.

There is no denying that China is a foreign policy behemoth. But that is precisely why determined governments and the UN should capitalize on China’s struggle to cobble together a coherent narrative on Xinjiang. They should use every opportunity to publicly raise the horrors being inflicted on Xinjiang and demand closure of the detention camps. Simply raising concerns privately with China’s leadership is futile.

Unfortunately, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hasn’t recognized the importance of a concerted international response. When questioned this week about the New York Times’ reporting, his spokesman declined to comment on the leak, and mimicked the Chinese government’s line about China’s “unity and territorial integrity”  and “condemnation of terrorist attacks.” He talked about human rights only in the context of “the fight against terrorism” — as if to confirm Beijing’s position that it’s all about counter-terrorism, not widespread government repression.

Top UN and government officials around the world who have so far kept silent about China’s abuses in Xinjiang should speak out. Muslim-majority countries – independently and through the 57-member state Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – should follow Albania’s example and raise publicly the deep concerns they often express in private.

To back up their words, countries should impose sanctions on individuals orchestrating the repression and other measures to press China to end its campaign. Finally, international companies should think twice about the ethics of doing business in Xinjiang to avoid being complicit in China’s abusive policies, which have sparked one of the biggest human rights crises of our time. 

Author: Human Rights Watch
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am