One year but little action on Xinjiang report

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

Senator Claire Chandler, Shadow Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs

Today marks one year since the significant report by the United Nations Human Rights Office found human rights violations, including possible crimes against humanity, have been committed against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region of the People’s Republic of China.

Disappointingly there has been little action from the Albanese Government in response to this report. Despite repeated calls from the Uyghur community in Australia and offers of bipartisanship from the Coalition, Labor has chosen not to utilise the responses available to them.

The Albanese Government inaction stands in contrast to the actions taken by the European Union, UK, US and Canada who have pursued those responsible with targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes.

The Coalition, again, offers bipartisan support to the Foreign Minister and Albanese Government to use the Magnitsky-style sanctions at their disposal and send a strong message that Australia is serious about these human rights violations.

We urge the Government to build upon the bipartisan approach which delivered Australia’s Magnitsky-style sanctions, to act in a manner more consistent with Minister Wong’s pre-election statements and to accept the Coalition’s offer without further delay.

The Coalition strongly supports the OHCHR recommendations calling for the prompt release of all individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty and the urgent independent investigation of all allegations of human rights abuses.

Since 2018 the Australian Government has consistently, publicly and directly with the Chinese Government, raised grave concerns about the reports of human rights abuses against ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

We also acknowledge the trauma of Uyghurs in Australia, who hold fears for their loved ones in Xinjiang, and in some cases have faced harassment and intimidation for sharing their stories publicly.

The Coalition restates our support for the UN to be given unrestricted access to Xinjiang to continue their independent investigation, and for those found to have committed human rights abuses to be held accountable.