Statement by the Chairs on International Human Rights Day

(Washington)--Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China, issued the following statement on International Human Rights Day.

“’All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,’ says the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document recognizing the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all individuals, everywhere. These words are a beacon of hope for all those struggling for the right to speak their minds, to choose their leaders, to practice their religion without fear, and to be protected from arbitrary arrest and torture." 

"With the resurgence of authoritarianism, human rights are under assault all over the world. On International Human Rights Day, we stand with those whose voices are denied and whose rights are trampled—particularly in China where the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) severely, and sometimes brutally, restricts universally recognized rights. We will support the brave men and women working to defend and expand fundamental freedoms, often at great personal risk." 

"The Congressional-Executive Commission on China is committed by mandate to be a permanent spotlight on the PRC’s  compliance with global human rights norms and, as such, we urge the PRC to unconditionally release all political prisoners and comply with its international and domestic commitments to guarantee the human rights of all its citizens, and of all who enter China's borders."

"As the Beijing Winter Olympics are set to begin in February of 2022, we note again with great concern that genocide and crimes against humanity continue in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The world cannot look away as Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities experience mass internment, forced labor, torture, forced sterilization, and intrusive surveillance. The international community must act to stop these atrocities and demand transparency and accountability from the Chinese government." 

"On this day, we also stand in solidarity with the Hong Kong people, as preserving Hong Kong’s promised autonomy & democratic freedoms is of critical interests to the U.S. and the international community. And we will continue to be a voice for all those oppressed in the People’s Republic of China, including Tibetans, Christians, Falun Gong, labor activists, human rights lawyers, and advocates for women’s rights, free speech, and democracy, among many others."