Humanists UK and Rene Cassin at UN demand action to prevent genocide

28 June, 2021


Humanists UK and the Jewish human rights charity René Cassin have made a joint intervention today at the UN Human Rights Council. They have expressed their deep concern over the growing evidence of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The intervention was made by video by Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson, during the plenary Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide. In his comments on Xinjiang, he said:

‘There is overwhelming evidence of widespread and systematic persecution enacted by the Chinese Government, which is inexorably damaging the human rights of millions of members of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. Journalists, scholars, and other investigators have gathered further evidence of crimes against humanity including enslavement; deportation; rape; sexual slavery; enforced prostitution; forced pregnancy; enforced sterilisation, and other comparable acts of sexual violence, as well as the separation of children from their families. Much of the evidence available today is also based on personal testimonies. We ask the Special Advisor what actions she is taking to determine whether these acts fulfil the legal definition of genocide, under the 1948 Genocide Convention?’

Speaking on the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar, he asked:

‘In what way will the Special Advisor work with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar and the UNHCR to protect the Rohingya from involuntary repatriation, and ensure Myanmar fulfils the order by the International Court of Justice?’

Humanists UK  previously raised the question of whether the situation in Xinjiang reches the threshold of genocide at the March 2021 and the September 2020  Councils. At the former the delegation from China then raised objections to Humanists UK’s use of the word ‘genocide’.


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 020 3675 0959.

Watch the intervention.

Read the intervention.

Read more about  René Cassin.

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