100 NGOs at UN Blast China's Anti-Muslim Racism, Protest Silencing of NGOs

The following joint civil society statement was barred from publication by the UN, as confirmed by OHCHR on Sept. 4, 2019, despite being submitted as a NGO written statement according to standard protocol.


Joint Appeal to Defend NGO Rights and to Protest China’s Anti-Muslim Racism

China Violates Human Rights Council Rules in Attempt to Silence Legitimate Criticism of Its Anti-Muslim Racism

We, the undersigned coalition of more than 100 NGOs, urge Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet, Human Rights Council President Coly Seck, Member States and Civil Society to condemn China’s baseless attacks on Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of United Nations Watch, and to defend the right of all NGOs to speak out for human rights victims at Human Rights Council sessions.

On 19 March 2019, at the 40th Session of the UNHRC, under the Agenda Item 9 General Debate on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, Mr. Neuer took the floor to read an Oral Statement on behalf of Ingénieurs du Monde, a NGO with ECOSOC consultative status.

The speech criticized China for arbitrarily detaining 1 million Muslim Uighurs in extra-legal “re-education camps.”

Before Mr. Neuer could even finish this sentence, the Chinese delegation aggressively sought to shut down the speech, banging loudly and interrupting with three points of order on the spurious claim that a speech for 1 million Muslim victims was unrelated to the topic of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.

In response to the first interruption, Human Rights Council President Coly Seck stated that “we are considering Item 9 on the Agenda on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance,” and he then admonished Mr. Neuer “to stick to the agenda item.” Regrettably, this initial response by the UNHRC President implied an acceptance of China’s baseless objection and interruption, and sent the message that Mr. Neuer should stop speaking about the 1 million Muslim victims in China.

However, upon the next two interruptions, President Seck defended Mr. Neuer’s right to speak on China’s abuse of Uighur Muslims under Item 9. In the end, President Seck reprimanded China, stating: “I’d like to recall that under the agenda item we’re discussing, speakers can make reference to specific country situations. Please prevent disturbing the proceedings of the room the next time.”

Having failed on its Points of Order, China proceeded to rudely interrupt Mr. Neuer’s speech by loudly banging on the table. This violated Rule 113 of the Rules of Procedure, which allows delegations to make Points of Order, and to appeal a presidential ruling by calling for a vote, but not to harass and interrupt a legitimate statement by another delegate.

Indeed, there was no legal basis at all for China’s interruptions, as the speech in defense of an oppressed ethnic and religious minority in China was well within the scope of Item 9, which covers “racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance.”

The speech was also fully consistent with the UN Declaration on Racism (“any restriction on the complete self-fulfillment of human beings…which is based on racial or ethnic considerations is contrary to the principle of equality in dignity and rights…[and] cannot be admitted”); the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (“each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to ensure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation”); and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”). Moreover, it is noted that in this same debate on 19 March, as on all previous occasions under Item 9, other country and NGO speakers highlighted specific country situations.

Accordingly, the conduct of the Chinese delegation during that debate constituted an outrageous attempt to silence a legitimate statement for victims by a human rights activist at the United Nations and violated numerous UN rules and procedures regarding the long-established right of NGOs to participate in Council sessions, the origin of which was established under Article 71 of the UN Charter.

Furthermore, the right of NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status to participate in Council sessions, including through oral presentations, is expressly recognized under GA Resolution 60/251, the Council’s founding document (paragraph 11); HRC Resolution 5/1 on Institution Building (paragraph 3); and ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31 on NGO participation (Paragraphs 27-32). This right is affirmed by the Council on its website and in its Practical Guide for NGO Participants, both of which clearly state that such NGOs may “make oral interventions” and “participate in debates, interactive dialogues, panel discussions and informal meetings,” among other things. In this case, Ingénieurs du Monde followed all of the relevant HRC procedures to register for a speaking slot for the Item 9 debate, and to accredit Mr. Neuer to deliver the relevant statement. We remind all stakeholders that it is a long-established practice that a NGO may accredit the representative of another NGO to read a statement on their behalf. This is an essential right for NGOs who may be unable to attend a given session in Geneva, due to a lack of material means or because of physical disabilities. To undermine this long-established right would amount to a form of discrimination and a gross infringement of the basic rights of NGOs.

In addition to violating the above rules, China’s attempt to silence Mr. Neuer also constituted a brazen violation of the right of all NGO representatives to freedom of expression, as guaranteed under Art. 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Art. 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We remind all stakeholders that NGOs are essential to the work of the Council.

Accordingly, we call on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet, Human Rights Council President Coly Seck, Member States and Civil Society to vigorously defend the rights of NGOs to speak out at the United Nations, and in particular at the Human Rights Council, on behalf of human rights victims worldwide, and to immediately reject and condemn any attempt by a UN member state, including China in this case, to interrupt and censor such legitimate NGO statements, or to engage in any form of wrongful pressure or intimidation against any NGO or their representatives.


  1. Hillel C. Neuer, Executive Director, United Nations Watch, Switzerland
  2. Souad Talsi MBE, Founder, Al-Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Project, United Kingdom
  3. Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director, Rene Cassin, United Kingdom
  4. Valle Thierry, Président, Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience, France 
  5. Marie-Anne Delahaut, President-CEO, Millennia 2025 Women & Innovation Foundation, Belgium 
  6. Jean Paul Laurent, Founder-CEO, Unspoken Smiles Foundation, France
  7. Avvy Go, Clinic Director, Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, Canada
  8. Temour Shah, Program Coordinator, Rural Community Development Program, Pakistan 
  9. Mariam Ina Koita, Vice President, Inter-Action Globale, Mali 
  10. Charles Phillips, Executive Director, Service For Peace, Inc., United States
  11. Erold Elcius , Président, Organisation Conseillère pour le Développement Économique et Social de la Commune des Gonaïves, Haiti
  12. Jenifer White, Founder, Project 1948 Foundation, United States
  13. Ashot Ayrapetyan, Director, Center for Interethnic Cooperation, United States
  14. Kenneth Amoateng, Executive Director, Abibimman Foundation, United States
  15.  Tall Lacina, Président, Comité/Club Unesco Universitaire pour la Lutte Contre la Drogue et autres pandémies (CLUCOD), Côte D’Ivoire
  16. Margaret Mayce, Main Representative, Dominican Leadership Conference, United States
  17. Karim D. Philips, President, Young Heart Foundation, Ghana
  18. Kwegueng Emile, Secrétaire Exécutif, Build Africa, Cameroon
  19. Ramakrishnan Nagarajan, Executive Director, Ideosync Media Combine, India
  20. François Simon Pierre Ngan Tonye, CEO, Association des Ressortissants et Amis D’Eseka, Cameroon 
  21. Lukman Adefolahan, Lead Coordinator, 21st Century Community Empowerment for Youth and Women Initiative, Nigeria 
  22. Aisha Ahmed, Chairperson, Murna Foundation, Nigeria
  23. Mange Ram Adhana, President, Association for Promotion Sustainable Development, India 
  24. Rose Ngalula, Co-Founder, Action Communautaire Femme et Enfant, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  25. Padonou Sourou Fabrice, Président, Mouvement des Jeunes pour le Réveil et le Développement (MJRD), Bénin
  26. Damien Noma, Executive Director, Association Respect Cameroun, Cameroon 
  27. Dr. Dominic Dixon, Executive Director, More Trust, India
  28. Teh Francis, Director, Goodness and Mercy Missions Common Initiative Group, Cameroon 
  29. Vera Da Ros, President, Brazilian Harm Reduction and Human Rights Network – REDUC, Brazil 
  30. Pierrette J. Cazeau, President & Founder, Haiti Cholera Research Funding Foundation Inc., United States
  31. Rashid Anyetei Odoi, Executive Director, Free World Foundation (FWF), Ghana
  32. Marcel Saturnin Kouna, Président National, Association nationale de promotion et de protection des droits de l’homme, Cameroon 
  33. Thierno Hamidou Balde, Executive Director, Zero Pauvre Afrique, Guinea 
  34. Victor Amisi, Executive Director, Vision GRAM-International, Canada 
  35. Dosse Sossouga, Executive Director, Amis des Étrangers au Togo (A.D.E.T), Togo 
  36. Francis N. Nchu, Director, Community Development Volunteers for Technical Assistance – Cameroon, Cameroon 
  37. Michael Enahoro, Executive Director, Excellent World Foundation LTD/GTE, Cameroon
  38. Roger Lokapatchu, Directeur Général, Association locale pour le développement intégral, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  39. Datuk Agung Sidayu, Chairman, Yayasan Pendidikan Indonesia, Indonesia 
  40. Darren Harper, President, Maawandoon Inc., Canada 
  41. Mohamed Hassan, CEO, Horn of Africa Voluntary Youth Committee (HAVOYOCO), Ethiopia
  42. Sylvanus Murray, President, Advocacy Initiative for Development (AID), United States
  43. Alan Owen, Chairman, British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, United Kingdom 
  44. Samir Kumar Das, Advocate & Chairman, International Movement for Advancement of Education Culture Social & Economic Development (IMAECSED), India 
  45. Sandeep Ahuja, CEO, Operation ASHA, India
  46. Patrick Spencer, Executive Director, Cork Forest Conservation Alliance, United States 
  47. Iba Sarr, Directeur des Programmes, Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme, Senegal 
  48. Sudaba Shiraliyeva, Director, “Women and Modern World” Social Charitable Centre, Azerbaijan
  49. Dr. Alan Goldsmith, President, The Jewish Renaissance Foundation, United States
  50. Banding Gassama, Président, Cause Première, Senegal
  51. Anne Trehern, Secrétaire Générale, United Villages (Villages Unis), Switzerland 
  52. Botnaru Petru, Director, Terra-1530, Moldova 
  53. Hermann Koffi Kouame, Président, Change Human’s Life, Côte D’Ivoire
  54. Prof. Rajendra Pratap Gupta, President, Disease Management Association of India, India
  55. Getro Mathieu, Executive Director, Action Secours Ambulance (ASA), Haiti 
  56. Lucica Humenuc, President, SIRDO – Romanian Independent Society of Human Rights, Romania 
  57. Omonade Kejekpo, Executive Director, Poverty Alleviation for the Poor Initiative, Nigeria
  58. Eskinder Kebede, Managing  Director, Ethiopia Change and Development Association, Ethiopia 
  59. Robert Kibaya, Executive Director, Kikandwa Rural Communities Development Organization (KIRUCODO), Uganda
  60. Godwin Osung, Founder, Godwin Osung International Foundation, Inc. (African Project), Nigeria 
  61. Ahmed Pathan, President & CEO, Green Planet, India 
  62. McShimana Jacobs Akem, Project Director, I.D.S-Intercommunity Development Social Organisation, Nigeria 
  63. Churchill Butalia, Coordinator, Alliance for Development and Population Services  (ADEPS), Kenya
  64. Descartes Mponge Malasi, Executive Director, ACADHOSHA (Action des Chrétiens Activistes des Droits de l’homme à Shabunda), Democratic Republic of the Congo
  65. Fongoh Eric, General Coordinator, ICENECDEV-International Centre for Environmental Education and Community Development, Cameroon 
  66. Moussa Gawi, Président, Association Mauritanienne Pour la Promotion des Droits de L’homme AMPDH, Mauritania
  67. Anand Karunakaran, Founder, Child Care Consortium, India 
  68. Lufuluabo Kabambi Thierry, Président, African Development Assistance Consult, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  69. Mamadou Sarr, Secrétaire Exécutif, Association Nationale des Partenaires Migrants, Senegal 
  70. Tohfa Eminova, President, Azerbaijani American Cultural Association in Florida, United States 
  71. Ataurrahman Khan, Executive President, National Women’s Welfare Society Darwha, India
  72. Mbuh Raphael Mbuh, President, FI.MO.AT.C.I.G, Cameroon 
  73. Prince Charles Sackeyfio, President, Emperor Gaza International Foundation, Ghana
  74. Rana Abdul Sattar, CEO & President, World Welfare Association, Pakistan 
  75. Obuesi Phillips, Global Director, Community Agenda for Peace, Nigeria 
  76. Teresa Kotturan, Main NGO Representative, Sisters of Charity Federation, United States 
  77. Romuald Djivoessoun, Directeur Exécutif, Autre Vie, Benin
  78. Tijani Abdlumumin, Senior Youth Coordinator, Asabe Shehu Yar Adua Foundation, United States 
  79. Hazel Dukes, Links NGO Representative, The Links Inc., United States
  80. Yves Laurin, President, French Committee for South Africa (Comité Français Pour l’Afrique du Sud), France 
  81. Shola Mese, Founder, Shola Mese Foundation, Nigeria 
  82. Spanana Ole Meitiaki, Program Coordinator, Ilngwesi Afya Program, Kenya
  83. Emil Kambala, Secretary, Fondation Nehemie, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  84. Braema Mathi, President, Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, Singapore 
  85. Sheldon Clare, President, Canada’s National Firearms Association, Canada 
  86. Germaine Tuamba, CEO, Centre d’Accompagnement des Filles Désoeuvrées, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  87. Muzaffer Baca, Vice President, International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation, Turkey 
  88. Bikash Rautray, Secretary, Association for Rural Area Social Modification, Improvement and Nestling (ARASMIN), India 
  89. Taz Mukorombindo, CEO, Canterbury & New Zealand Business Association Inc., New Zealand 
  90. Mohammad Safi Ul Alam, Founder & CEO, Youth Foundation of Bangladesh, Bangladesh 
  91. Lakshmikanta Singh, Executive Director, Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO), Bangladesh 
  92. Amjad Khan, President, Ekta Welfare Society, India 
  93. Mohammed Masood Mohiuddin, Chairman, AIM Education & Research Society, India 
  94. Moussa Mahamadou, Coordinator, Association pour la Lutte contre le Travail des Enfants au Niger (ALTEN), Niger 
  95. Salim Khan, General Secretary, Social Development and Management Society, India 
  96. Télesphore Balonga, Président, Centre d’Accueil et de Volontariat pour Orphelins Abandonnés et Handicapés du Cameroun (CAVOAHCAM), Cameroon
  97. Gugulethu Resha, Intern – Youth Programs & Capacity Building, South African Institute of International Affairs, South Africa
  98. Alain Ilunga wa Ilunga, Président, Bureau Pour la Croissance Intégrale et la Dignité de L’enfant, Democratic Republic of Congo 
  99. Gertrude Kenyangi, Executive Director, Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN), Uganda 
  100. Abdoullah Bazyar, President, Internationale Gemeinschaft für die Unterstützung von Kriegsopfern e.V., Germany 
  101. Altin Hazizaj, Director, Children’s Human Rights Centre of Albania (CRCA) / End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, Inc. (ECPAT ALBANIA), Albania 
  102. Souvi Sidi Batt, Président, L’observatoire Maurtanien des Droits de l’homme et de la Démocratie, Mauritania
  103. Rachel Nisbet, Communications, International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA), Switzerland 
  104. Imtiaz Ahmed, Chief Executive, DESSI International, Pakistan 
  105. Henry Appiah, International Coordinator, City 2000 Youth Action International, Ghana
  106. Philippe Nanga, Coordinateur, Association Un Monde Avenir, Cameroon 
  107. David Borden, Executive Director, DRCNet Foundation, United States 
  108. Nick Kent, National Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy – Australia, Australia 
  109.  Paul Usi Elomien, Executive Director, Community Social Welfare Foundation, Nigeria 
  110. Emmanuel Sevidzem, Managing Director, Technical Centre for Fine Art and Computer Studies CIG Group (TechCeFaCos), Cameroon 
  111. Abul Lkair, President, Mankind Welfare Organization, Pakistan
  112. Babatope Babalobi, Executive Director, Bread of Life Development Foundation, Nigeria
  113. Awoussi Koura-Napo, Présidente, Association Togolaise “Femmes et Sida” (ATFS), Togo
  114. Davy Koller, President, Österreichische Lebens – Rettungs – Gesellschaft Bundesverband Österreich (OLRG), Austria
  115. Nathaniel Odudele, President, African Heritage Foundation Nigeria, Nigeria 
  116. Abayomi Olatunji, Executive Director, Entrepreneurship Development and Support Initiative, Nigeria 
  117. Moka Gabriel, President, Kalipa Foundation for Development (Fondation Kalipa pour le Développement), Democratic Republic of Congo 
  118. Mashario Sakata, Chairperson of the Board, Japan Asia Cultural Exchanges (JACE), United States 
  119. Kofi Kankam, President & CEO, Elizka Relief Foundation, Ghana
  120. Hilaire Bell, Présidente, Cercle de Recherche sur les Droits et les Devoirs de la Personne Humaine (CRED), Switzerland 
  121. Sylvia Briggs, CEO, Women Educators Association of Nigeria, Nigeria 
  122. Cheikh Mohamed Vadhel Cheikh, Coordinator, Association Mauritanienne pour la Transparence et le Développement (ATED), Mauritania
  123. Dr. George-Hill Anthony, CEO, Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group, Nigeria 
  124. Yvonne Singleton Davis, Founder, Sister to Sister One in the Spirit, Inc., United States 
  125. Jay Sorensen, President, Kids First Fund, United States 
  126. Phillip Phinn, President General, Word of Life Christian Fellowship, Jamaica
  127. Ann Fordham, Executive Director, International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), United Kingdom
  128. Dopé Adjoko Benedicta Koudadje-Assagba, Directrice Exécutive, Credo Action, Togo
  129. Neil Belanger, Executive Director, BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society, Canada
  130. Didier Kiyanga Mundonda, President, Coup de Pouce, Democratic Republic of Congo 
  131. Ibrahim Salih, Director, Local Action Organization, Sudan 
  132. David Younus, Chairman, All Christians Welfare Association, Pakistan 
  133. John Lupoli, Archbishop, World Council of Independent Christian Churches, United States 
  134. Tiffany Taylor, President, Sociologists for Women in Society, United States 
  135. Nicholas Kunga, Director, Volunteers For Africa, Kenya
  136. Rami Harajli, Managing Director, Medrar Foundation, Lebanon
UN Watch