France vigilant about human rights in China, says Ministry

China – Uighurs – Reply by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to a written question in the National Assembly

Paris, 23 July 2019

France has expressed its concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang and in the rest of China many times, both in the framework of its bilateral contacts with the Chinese authorities and in UN forums such as the Human Rights Council [HRC].

As the French President recalled during President Xi Jinping’s visit to France in March 2019, France broaches the issue of individual freedoms and basic rights in its dialogue with China in order to express its own and Europe’s concerns about respect for basic rights and about several individual cases. France and the European Union regularly speak out on the issue in the United Nations framework.

For example, during China’s Universal Periodic Review on 6 November 2018, France addressed to the Chinese authorities two recommendations concerning Xinjiang: “to implement all the 31 August 2018 recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Xinjiang, particularly to end mass internments in the region’s camps, and to invite the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and [the HRC’s] special procedures to go there”; and “to guarantee freedom of religion and belief, including in Tibet and Xinjiang”. France and the European Union also conveyed these messages to the Human Rights Council. During its 39th session in September 2018, in its national statement under Point 4 (“Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention”), France called on the Chinese authorities to end arbitrary mass detentions in what they call “re-education camps”. The European Union’s statement under Point 4 also provided an opportunity to draw the Chinese authorities’ attention to our concerns about the situation in Xinjiang.

At the HRC’s 40th session in March 2019, both France and the European Union once again publicly expressed their deep concern about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. France is actively taking part in preparations for the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, the first session of which was held at the beginning of April and provided an opportunity to discuss the situation in Xinjiang.

France holds regular, constructive discussions with human rights NGOs, particularly through the Human Rights Ambassador. He visited China in October 2018, before China’s Universal Periodic Review. He had the opportunity to hold meetings with Chinese leaders and members of civil society on the human rights situation in Xinjiang, which the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs will continue to follow with close attention and vigilance, including in the run-up to the 41st session of the Human Rights Council.

France is also being vigilant about the situation of Uighurs living in France, and has taken the necessary measures to take the situation in Xinjiang into account when it comes to handling requests regarding their residence in France, in order to prevent situations which might lead to violations of their basic rights./.

Published on 26/07/2019

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