(Minghui.org) The religious liberty and human rights magazine Bitter Winter published an article on October 4, 2023, titled “NGOs at the UN Against Organ Harvesting, While Falun Gong Asks Italy to Save Lives.”

Authored by Marco Respinti, the article reported that two ECOSOC-accredited NGOs published a joint statement at the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council between September 11 and October 13, 2023, condemning the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s organ harvesting crimes targeting Falun Gong practitioners.

According to the report, the statement by the two NGOs, the Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience (CAP-LC) and the Romanian Independent Society of Human Rights (RISHR), were supported by a wealth of other organisations, including Alianza Iberoamérica Europea Contra el Comunismo (AIECC), China Watch UK, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), Forum for Religious Freedom Europe (FOREF), the Gerard Noodt Foundation for Freedom of Religion or Belief, the International Society for Human Rights and its branch in Sweden, the International Council for Diplomacy and Dialogue (ICDD), the Korean Association for Ethical Organ Transplants (KAEOT), NPO Transplant Tourism Research Association, the Taiwan Association for International Care of Organ Transplants (TAICOT), and the Rotary Satellite Club of Ending Forced Organ Harvesting.

The statement was drafted based on reports by three leading investigators on the forced organ harvesting crime, including David Kilgour (1941–2022), David Matas and Ethan Gutmann, as well as the final judgement of the “China Tribunal.”

According to Bitter Winter, the statement raised several requests to the UN and its associated agencies, including 1) “call upon the WHO [World Health Organisation] that the One Health agenda has to include a verification of the end to forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China”; 2) “call upon the UN Secretary General to initiate a fact-finding mission of forced organ harvesting in China via independent, international, unannounced inspections”; and 3) “call upon the UN Secretary General to inform all 193 member states of the United Nations about China’s persecution of Falun Gong and its unethical forced organ harvesting practice.”

As this year marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and China is a member of the UN Human Rights Council, it should “immediately abide by the guiding principles of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and end the practice of forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and any other prisoners of conscience,” said the statement.

The statement noted that several countries, including Israel, Canada, and the United States, “have initiated or passed legally binding legislations that aim to stop or prevent forced organ harvesting of prisoners in China.” Two examples were the House Resolution 343 passed by the U.S. Congress in 2016 and Written Declaration 48 by the European Parliament also in 2016. Also cited in the statement were the more than 3 million signatures collected by Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting in over 50 countries and a statement by 12 Special Rapporteurs to the UN in 2021.

The statement also said that the CCP’s decades of “state-sanctioned, forced organ harvesting of living people” should be indicted as “crimes against humanity,” making “the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese government […] one of the most investigated, yet largely ignored persecution of a spiritual-religious group in the 21st century.”

In addition to the joint-statement, a third NGO, Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD), submitted a separate statement to the UN Human Rights Council on May 26, 2023, according to Bitter Winter.

The GHRD statement said, “Too often, the government of the PRC has eluded questions and mocked reports as being mere fantasy. Unfortunately, these reports reflect reality. It is urgent that independent, bipartisan, non-confessional, and non-political investigations are carried out in the PRC to establish the truth. Official statistics produced by the PRC have been questioned by experts many times; it is time to discuss them openly and publicly with international experts. Numbers must be verified, practices must be verified, criminals must be indicted. Forced organ harvesting is a disgrace that the world must not overlook any longer.”

The Bitter Winter article also gave an example of the stories of two Falun Gong practitioners, Ms. Ma Xiuyun and Mr. Tang Pingshun, parents of another Falun Gong practitioner currently residing in Italy.

On August 15, 2023, Katerina Angelakopoulou, President of the Italian Falun Dafa Association, wrote to the head of the Italian government and several ministers. She pleaded: “We turn to you asking for your support toward their release, conveying to the Chinese authorities the respect Italy has for human rights and asking them to stop the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by any democratic country like ours.”

Now, 17 years after the forced organ harvesting was first reported, the crime is still going on in China. While Falun Gong practitioners remain the main target, this practice has been extended to other groups such as Tibetans and Uyghurs. “While the reality of organ predation in the PRC gains growing attention on different media outlets, the victims of these monstrosity are not theoretical. They are real people in flesh and blood.” wrote the Bitter Winter report.