UN Human Rights chief set to visit Xinjiang in May

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Back in June last year, the UN rights chief had expressed hope to agree on terms for Xinjiang visit to look into reports of rights abuse against Uyghurs….reports Asian Lite News

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet is set to visit China in May, including a trip to Xinjiang, after reaching an agreement with Beijing.

“My Office and the Government of China have initiated concrete preparations for a visit that is foreseen to take place in May of this year,” Bachelet said while delivering her annual report to the UN rights body. “Preparations will have to take into account COVID-19 regulations,” Bachelet said.

Back in June last year, the UN rights chief had expressed hope to agree on terms for Xinjiang visit to look into reports of rights abuse against Uyghurs.

Media reports said the approval for a UN visit has been granted, for a period, after the conclusion of the Beijing Winter Games. However, reports also add that Bejing has placed a condition that the trip should not be framed as a probe.

On Tuesday, some 200 rights groups demanded that Bachelet’s office release its long-postponed report on the rights situation in China’s Xinjiang province.

“The release of the report without further delay is essential – to send a message to victims and perpetrators alike that no state, no matter how powerful, is above international law or the robust independent scrutiny of your office,” the 192 groups, including Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty, wrote in an open letter.

HRW executive director Kenneth Roth said that rights groups have become increasingly concerned that the UN human rights office has still not published its long-awaited report on Xinjiang.

“It defies credibility to believe that China will allow meaningful unfettered access that will enable human rights defenders, or victims and their families, to speak to the High Commissioner safely, unsupervised and without fear of reprisal. Today’s announcement of a planned visit by the High Commissioner should not provide an excuse for her to avoid publishing her report on Xinjiang abuses without further delay, as she has repeatedly promised.”

China’s permanent representative to the UN Office at Geneva Chen Xu said China welcomes the visit by the UN rights office to China, including Xinjiang.

“We will work with the High Commissioner’s Office to make preparations for the visit,” Chen said at the ongoing 49th session of the HRC. (ANI)

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