UN rights chief denounces abuses in Xinjiang and arrests in Hong Kong | Uyghur news
Michelle Bachelet insists on an independent assessment of the situation in the Muslim Uyghur homeland because her visit to China is delayed.
United Nations Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet denounced reported arbitrary detentions and ill-treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang, while drawing attention to restrictions on basic civil and political freedoms in the country, including Hong Kong.
Bachelet said that given reports of the use of arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, sexual violence and forced labor against Uyghur Muslim minorities, there was a need for a thorough and independent assessment of the situation.
“Information that is in the public domain indicates the need for an independent and comprehensive assessment of the human rights situation,” she said.
Bachelet said she hoped to reach an agreement with Chinese authorities on a visit to the country.
As early as June 2019, the Chinese Ambassador to Geneva, Chen Xu, had declared that Bachelet was welcome to visit Xinjiang. But the visit has not yet ended.
Louise Arbor was the last United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit China, in September 2005.
UN activists and experts have said at least one million Uyghur Muslims are being held in camps in the western Xinjiang region.
After initially denying the existence of the camps in Xinjiang, Beijing then defended them as vocational training centers aimed at reducing the attractiveness of extremism.
‘Genocide’ against the Uyghurs
Bachelet, Chile’s two-time president, is the latest high-profile figure to add her voice to a wave of criticism of China’s rights record, especially in Xinjiang.
The Dutch parliament on Thursday passed a non-binding motion saying the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority in China amounted to genocide, the first such initiative by a European country.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said earlier that torture, forced labor and sterilization are taking place on an “industrial scale” in Xinjiang.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian denounced “an institutionalized system of large-scale surveillance and repression”.
The Biden administration endorsed the Trump administration’s determination in its final days that China committed genocide in Xinjiang and said the United States must be prepared to impose costs on China.
China hit back on growing criticism from Western powers over its treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang on Friday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded on Friday, saying criticism of Xinjiang was an excuse to “deliberately denigrate China and crudely interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
“The facts show that there has never been a ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang,” Wang told reporters during a regular press briefing.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also said on Monday that “there has never been a so-called genocide, forced labor or religious oppression in Xinjiang.”
During Friday’s event, Bachelet also pointed out that China is restricting basic civil and political liberties in the name of national security and COVID-19 measures, adding to a wave of criticism over the country’s record on rights.
“Human rights activists, lawyers and defenders – as well as some foreign nationals – face arbitrary criminal charges, detention or unfair trials,” Bachelet told the Human Rights Council.
More than 600 people in Hong Kong are under investigation for taking part in protests, some under the new national security law imposed by mainland China on the former British colony, he said. she declared.
Hong Kong Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng told the Geneva forum that since the law was passed civil unrest has subsided and residents can enjoy their legal freedoms.