Three NGOs call on the EU to adopt further sanctions against human rights violators in Tibet and Uyghur Region

Open Letter

Brussels, 31st January 2022

In a joint letter, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) called on the EU to extend its list of per-sons under asset freeze and travel ban for their involvement in human rights violations in the Peo-ple’s Republic of China. The organizations submitted names of four Chinese officials for the con-sideration of the EU who are to be held accountable for their role in systematic human rights viola-tions.

FIDH Advocacy Director Antoine Madelin said “Following the first EU sanctions against four Chinese officials, we call on the EU and its Member States to extend this list to further officials involved in serious human rights abuses in East Turkistan (Chinese: Xinjiang) and in Tibet. The EU must continue to demonstrate its determination to challenge the unacceptable breach of human rights norms committed by individuals in state and party leadership, targeting the Tibetan and Uy-ghur people.”

The EU first adopted sanctions listings against Chinese officials in March 2021, when EU Member States agreed to designate four individuals and one entity involved in large-scale arbitrary deten-tions in the Uyghur Region. Our organisations welcomed this decision and also hoped it would act as a starting point for a new ambitious EU-China policy with human rights at its core.

WUC President Dolkun Isa said: “Even though the first EU sanctions against four Chinese offi-cials and one entity complicit in the genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur people was a first step in the right direction, the scale and severity of China’s crimes calls for an additional response. Especially after the verdict of the Uyghur Tribunal, Chinese officials who bear direct responsibility for the intrusive surveillance and mass internment of millions of Uyghurs cannot be allowed to escape accountability .”

Almost one year later, and despite some steps taken in the right direction, EU foreign policy still fails to match the gravity of the human rights situation in China. Though our organisations wel-comed the suspension of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) process last spring, we remain worried that the agreement could resurface in the future while key human rights concerns stay unaddressed. FIDH, ICT and WUC also consider sanctions listings against on-ly four Chinese officials to be insufficient, as they fail to encompass the full scale of the human rights violations committed by the Chinese government.

Today, FIDH, ICT and WUC call on the EU to extend the list of individuals under restrictive measures to incorporate perpetrators of human rights violations not only taking place against Uy-ghurs but also against Tibetans and other ethnic and religious groups across the entire country. This submission asks the EU to consider broadening the list of sanctions against Chinese officials involved in the repression of Uyghurs as well as listing those responsible for the implementation of repressive policies that entail mass internment camps as well as systematic policies of assimilation in Tibet.

Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director for the International Campaign for Tibet said: “The overall human rights situation in Tibet has very much deteriorated in particular under President Xi Jinping’s leadership. More than 150 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 to denounce Chinese policies and the lack of basic human rights in Tibet. The appointment as head of the Tibet Auton-omous Region Party Committee of Wang Junzheng, who figures on EU’s list of sanctions because of his role in the violations of human rights against Uyghurs, indicates that the Chinese authorities intend to continue using an iron fist to control the Tibetan people. We urge the EU that human rights policy will only be credible when it is consequential.

As a next step, the EU should also include on its sanction list Chinese officials responsible for the violent crackdown against pro-democracy voices in Hong Kong, and for the state-wide policy of surveillance, harassment, censorship, arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances perpetrated against human rights defenders, journalists and dissidents across the mainland.

The individuals we are submitting for the EU’s consideration have been instrumental in the design and execution of the Chinese Communist Party’s drastic “security”, “sinicisation” and “counter-terrorist” policies. In some cases, they have been rewarded with prestigious promotions within the Communist Party for their implementation of Beijing’s repressive rule. At the time of submission, they remain free to travel and do business in the EU.

It is high time for the EU to step up its engagement as a global leader against China’s attacks against the civilian population. We hope the listing of officials included in our submission can act as a further step towards the respect and protection of human rights in China.

Points of contact:

International Federation for Human Rights
Gisela Castro
Delegate to the EU
+32 489 49 18 27

World Uyghur Congress
Koen Stoop
EU Policy Coordinator

International Campaign for Tibet
Vincent Metten
EU Policy Director
Phone: +32 (0)473 9904440

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