UN human rights experts call out China for  ‘organ harvesting,’  demands prompt reply

DHARAMSALA, 16 June: UN human rights experts were extremely alarmed by reports of alleged organ harvesting’ targeting minorities, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims, and Christians, in detention in China.

“Detainees from ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities may be forcibly subjected to blood tests and organ examinations such as ultrasound and X-rays, without their informed consent; while other prisoners are not required to undergo such examinations,” the experts have said on Monday in a press release.

According to the experts, “the results of the examinations are reportedly registered in a database of living organ sources that facilitates organ allocation.”

The report further stated that “forced organ harvesting in China appears to be targeting specific ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities held in detention, often without being explained the reasons for arrest or given arrest warrants, at different locations.” 

“We are deeply concerned by reports of discriminatory treatment of the prisoners or detainees based on their ethnicity and religion or belief,” the experts have said.

The most common organs removed from the prisoners the report said were hearts, kidneys, livers, comeas, and less commonly, parts of livers.

Health sector professionals, including surgeons, anesthetists, and other medical specialists are part of the trafficking, the report said.

The development marks the third instance of UN human rights experts raising the issue of forced organ harvesting by China, the issue was previously raised in 2006 and 2007.

According to the experts, the lack of data, access, and accountability in China- and deaths in detention because of it – is a systemic issue. 

“Unfortunately, the Government responses lacked data such as waiting times for organ allocation, or information on the sources of organs. In this context, the lack of available data and information-sharing systems are obstacles to the successful identification and protection of victims of trafficking and effective investigation and prosecution of traffickers,” the experts have said.

The experts have further stated that “despite the gradual development of a voluntary organ donation system, information continues to emerge regarding serious human rights violations in the procurement of organs for transplants in China.” 

The experts have expressed concern  over “the lack of independent oversight as to whether the consent to donation and organ allocation is effectively given by prisoners or detainees.”

“It is also reported that families of deceased detainees and prisoners are prevented from claiming their bodies,” they said and called on “China to promptly respond to the allegations of organ harvesting and to allow independent monitoring by international human rights mechanisms.”

The report noted that the Special Procedures mandate-holders have been in contact with China to strengthen dialogue and that they would like to continue this constructive engagement with the Government of China.

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