Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday welcomed the United States, European Union, Canada and Britain taking joint action to impose sanctions on senior Chinese officials over human rights abuses in China’s far western Xinjiang region.
“We share these countries’ deep concerns, which are held across the Australian and New Zealand communities,” Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta said in a joint statement.
“Today, we underscore the importance of transparency and accountability, and reiterate our call on China to grant meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for United Nations experts, and other independent observers,” the statement added.
The Australian and New Zealand governments reiterated their grave concerns about the growing number of credible reports of severe human rights abuses against ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. The two have not imposed sanctions themselves.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the multi-national measures were part of “intensive diplomacy” by the UK, the United States, Canada and the 27-nation EU to force action amid mounting evidence of serious rights abuses against the Uyghur people.
The sanctions will be imposed immediately and include travel bans and asset freezes against four officials, Raab said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement the united response “sends a strong signal to those who violate or abuse international human rights, and we will take further actions in coordination with likeminded partners.”
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