Remarks at a Meeting of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations

Kelly Razzouk
Senior Policy Advisor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 21, 2018


Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for the course of action that you’ve laid out.

In response to what China’s just said, I’d like to read from the report of the Secretary-General. This is document A/HRC/36/31 distributed 29 March 2018. Again, this is a report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This is not an NGO report or a media/press report. And if you’ll just indulge me to read one paragraph.

It says, “On 26 April 2017, a Uyghur human rights activist and member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization,…Dolkun Isa, who was attending the annual Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations headquarters, …was escorted from the premises pending further examination following the receipt of information from representatives of…China alleging ‘security reasons.’ As a result, Mr. Isa [was unable to] resume his participation in the…Forum.” This was last year, and this is from a report on reprisals against human rights defenders. And it is very clear what is happening today is yet again an act of reprisal. And the committee is being asked to be an accomplice to this activity.

We’re very concerned about this action. We’re very concerned about the allegations that the Chinese have made. This letter was circulated, obviously, very late on Friday evening so that many delegations didn’t have time to come prepared with comments today. We also understand that this individual was given a badge and did participate. And if there were concerns raised, we understand that UN security takes its protocol very seriously. So one of the things we would request, Mr. Chair, is that you invite UN security to come and brief us on the information that they have about this individual, because obviously he was given a badge. As the Chinese say, he did participate in the forum. This is after last year’s allegations, again, documented in the UN’s own Secretary-General’s report.

So we’re very concerned, Mr. Chairman, about this approach. We agree that the NGO needs to be given time to respond, and so given until Friday for them to present their information and response is appropriate, and the committee should give due process and listen to those concerns. But we do believe that we need to hear from various other entities if there really is terrorist concerns that all of us need to be made aware of that. The United States, speaking on its own behalf, would not have given a visa to this individual to come into the United States if he really was going to commit terrorist activities. And we know that the UN Diplomatic Security office would also not put all of us at risk if there really was a terrorist threat, as the Chinese have claimed today.

So, Mr. Chairman, we’d like to hear that information. We would like to receive some further evidence so that this committee is not an accomplice to reprisals. We are very concerned about this. And, again, this seems like an extremely clear-cut case for us – clearer than we’ve ever been faced with before. We have the SG’s own report here, and we hope that each member of this committee will take a moment to look at this and read this tonight.

Thank you.