Ministerial Letter says UK Government has told the WHO to carefully consider a report into forced organ harvesting in China and that it is using its place on the UK Human Rights Council to prioritise the mass detention of Uyghurs in political re-education camps and other human rights abuses in China. Won’t say who will be targeted with Magnitsky sanctions.
The Lord Alton of Liverpool
House of Lords
9 November 2020
Thank you for your correspondence of 19 October on behalf of John Dee, Chair of Friends of Falun Gong UK, providing information relating to potential designations under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime.
We remain deeply concerned about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and others on the grounds of their religion or belief in China. The freedom to practise, change or share one’s faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a human right that all people should enjoy. We believe that societies which aim to guarantee freedom of religion or belief are more stable, prosperous and more resilient against violent extremism.
We have carefully considered the latest report by the group “The International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China”, which contains numerous, disturbing allegations of serious human rights abuses, including sexual violence, torture, forced DNA testing, and false imprisonment. The testimonies also add to the growing body of evidence about the disturbing situation that Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs and other minorities are facing in China. The Government’s position remains that, if true, the practice of systematic, state-sponsored organ harvesting would constitute a serious violation of human rights.
The report is one of a number of sources of information that we are taking into account when considering this issue. We have discussed the allegations of organ harvesting with the World Health Organization, international partners, and international human rights NGOs. I have also written to the WHO in Geneva to encourage them to give careful consideration to the report’s findings.
More broadly, we are committed to promoting human rights in China, as demonstrated by our continued multilateral and bilateral activity.
On 6 October, the UK and 38 other countries joined a statement at the UN Third Committee in New York expressing deep concern at the situation in Xinjiang, including
the mass detention of Uyghurs in political re-education camps. This growing caucus reflects UK diplomatic leadership, including the personal involvement of the Foreign Secretary in raising the issue with a wide range of partners.
On 25 September, at the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council, I delivered the UK’s ‘Item 4’ national statement, which was entirely dedicated to the human rights situation in China.
The Global Human Rights sanctions regime gives the UK an additional, powerful tool that we can use to tackle human rights violations and abuses, and underpin the UK’s role as a force for good in global affairs. We will continue to consider designations under this sanctions regime in order to deter and provide accountability for serious human rights violations or abuses. However, it is not appropriate to speculate on who may be designated under this sanctions regime in the future because to do so could reduce the impact of the designations.
We will continue to monitor this issue closely, and consider carefully all evidence presented to us.
LORD (TARIQ) AHMAD OF WIMBLEDON
Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth
Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict