Geneva: 12 UN experts have called on China, expressing serious concerns on reports of forced organ harvesting and to allow independent monitoring by international human rights mechanisms. The UN experts’ press release raised concerns on reports that forced ‘organ harvesting’ by China are targeting Tibetans, Uyghurs, Falun Gong Practitioners, Muslims, Christians and other detainees who are often arrested arbitrarily.
The experts said that they were “extremely alarmed” by the credible information received from detainees where they are “forcibly subjected to blood tests and organ examinations such as ultrasound and x-rays, without informed consent.”
The communication also noted that the common organs reportedly removed are “hearts, kidneys, livers, corneas and, less commonly, parts of livers.” This trafficking is carried out in collusion with “health sector professionals including surgeons, anaesthetists and other medical specialists.” The communication also touched upon and raised concerns about rampant arbitrary detentions, arrests and sentencing as well as prevalent discriminatory practices against prisoners based on their ethnicity and religion or belief.
The joint communication was issued by Ms. Siobhán Mullally, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children; Ms. Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues; Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Ms. Dubravka Simonovic, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Ms. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while counter-terrorism; Ms. Elina Steinerte (Chair-Rapporteur), Dr. Miriam Estrada-Castillo (Vice-chairperson), Ms. Leigh Toomey, Mr. Mumba Malila and Mr. Priya Gopalan from Working Group on arbitrary detention.
The China Tribunal established in 2018 had investigated at length reports of forced organ harvesting in China. In its judgment passed last year, the Tribunal condemned China as “a criminal state” for carrying out systematic torture, illegal imprisonment, forced labour, organ harvesting and abusive psychiatric measures. The judgement of 562 pages provides details of evidence submitted, witness accounts and experts statements highlighting the prevalent practice of forced organ harvesting of detainees including Tibetans.
The judgment also notes that the mysterious deaths of Tibetans in custody is a cause of alarm as they could also be victims of organ harvesting. It also references growing evidence that “organ harvesting is being practiced not only on Falun Gong and Uyghur prisoners but also on Tibetans, following the 2013 uprising and repression there.”
Nobel Peace Prize nominee and co-founder of the International Coalition to end Organ Abuse in China, Ethan Gutmann noted in his book, The Slaughter, his “best estimate” that organs of 65,000 Falun Gong and “two to four thousand” Uyghurs, Tibetans and Christians were “harvested” in the 2000- 2008 period.
The Tibet Bureau Geneva welcomes the joint communication of the UN experts and calls on China to comply with the demands of the UN experts including allowing access to independent monitoring by international human rights mechanisms.