Speech delivered by Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen
Madame President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,
Human rights is one of the most divisive issues in the EU-China relations. Let me just refer to the sanctions imposed under the EU Global Human Rights Sanction Regime last year, and China’s countermeasures targeting Members of this Parliament, and to our efforts – so far in vain – to hold an EU-China Human Rights Dialogue which has not met since April 2019.
The EU continues, nevertheless, to seize every opportunity, including at the highest political level, to raise its serious concerns about the human rights situation in China. Doing so is becoming even more important, as multiple reports continue to provide very credible evidence of organ harvesting in China.
The EU condemns in the strongest possible terms the criminal, inhumane and unethical practice of forced organ harvesting, often from persons belonging to ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities and other persons in vulnerable situations.
Respect for human rights is not an option, but a requirement in all areas, including in the challenging medical and ethical area of organ donation and transplantation. We have repeatedly expressed our concerns over the secrecy that surrounds both death penalty and organ transplant statistics in China. We have highlighted numerous disturbing reports on continuing organ harvesting from executed prisoners.
Looking ahead, the human rights situation in China will continue to be a key part of EU action in multilateral fora, notably the United Nations Human Rights Council and the General Assembly’s Third Committee.
In our bilateral diplomacy, we will continue to call on China to operate in compliance with its international human rights obligations.
Let me assure you that in pursuing our relations with China we will not be silent, nor compromise, on human rights.