The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, published the long-awaited report on alleged human rights violations against the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Chinese region of Xinjiang. The announcement was made just a few minutes before the president finished her four-year term in the Organization. According to the Xi Jinping government, such a publication could harm his country’s cooperation with the UN.
Despite pressure not to be published, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, delivered the report with the approval of the world organization and its member states.
The report of the disagreement with China talks about the human rights situation of the Uyghur Muslim community, a minority that lives in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, in the northwest of the country. Throughout history, the Government of that country has repressed this community on the grounds that they are Islamic extremists.
Within the report published by the Agency this Wednesday, August 31, it reads “Serious human rights violations have been committed in Xinjiang in the context of the government’s implementation of strategies to combat terrorism and extremism.”
In addition, the report recommended that the Chinese government “promptly take measures to release all people arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in Xinjiang, whether in so-called “vocational training centers, prisons or other detention centers”.
According to Western diplomats and UN officials, the report had been ready for months but was decided to be published just minutes before the end of the High Commissioner’s mandate. Previously, China had been “firmly opposed” to the publication of the long-awaited report on the situation of the Uyghur community.
Michelle Bachelet managed to meet the delivery deadline that had previously been imposed, before stepping down from her position as a champion of Human Rights of the United Nations, on August 31.
Before its publication, the debate on China’s influence within the world body had hardened and demonstrated the diplomatic intermittence between Beijing and the West. The report is expected to break new ground for the protection of human rights in that country.
China’s discomfort with the report
Immediately upon learning of the High Commissioner’s report, the Chinese government published a statement in which it shows its opposition to the body’s concept of the Xinjiang region.
“The so-called “assessment” goes against the mandate of the high body and ignores the human rights achievements achieved jointly by the populations of all ethnic groups in the autonomous region of Xinjiang”, in the same way they assure that lies are being fabricated by “anti-Chinese forces”.
China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, had called on Bachelet to remain independent, avoid influencing her country’s internal affairs and warned that the report could undermine relations between the United Nations and Beijing.
“We all know that the so-called Xinjiang issue is a completely fabricated lie with political motives and is aimed at undermining China’s stability and obstructing its development,” Zhang insisted.
Strong criticism for the High Commissioner
The Chinese government accepted that Bachelet visit the country in May of this year, however, the High Commissioner acknowledged that she received a letter signed by some 40 countries not to publish the report.
During the visit, according to the Chilean, she wanted to see first-hand what was happening in the country and have direct contact with relatives of Uyghurs who were or are in the internment camps.
Bachelet has been strongly criticized by human rights organizations for not having published the report almost three months after her visit, a delay that was attributed to Chinese pressure.
Bachelet ends her term amid controversy
In June of this year, the former president of Chile said that she would not seek a new mandate as head of human rights before the UN, in the same way, she promised to deliver the report of the Uyghurs before stepping down from her position.
After 4 years in command, the politician sent a message through a video posted on social networks, where she said goodbye and thanked her for the work she did with human rights.
“As my term as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights comes to an end, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to human rights defenders in every corner of the world.”
Similarly, he concluded by questioning human rights debts “Why are the voices of some communities ignored? Why doesn’t the situation of the excluded improve? Why can’t we work together to identify solutions?” she expressed.
As I conclude my mandate as High Commissioner, I urge everyone – States, businesses, civil society – to support the countless people around the world who are fighting for human rights.
They protect us. We have a duty to protect them.
You can continue to count on the support of @UNHumanRights. pic.twitter.com/n5Ktf8h6cD
– Michelle Bachelet (@mbachelet) August 31, 2022
With EFE, AP and local media
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