UN rights chief to visit China in May

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GENEVA (REUTERS) – United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet mentioned on Tuesday (March 8) that she has reached an settlement with China for a visit, “foreseen” in May, and that she had raised with Beijing the arrests of activists to help their freedom of expression.

Her visit would come with a cease in the distant western area of Xinjiang, the place activists say some a million Uighurs have been held in mass detention, she informed the UN Human Rights Council.

China rejects accusations of abuse, describing the camps as vocational centres designed to fight extremism, and in late 2019 it mentioned all individuals in the camps had “graduated”.

Ms Bachelet, talking by video message to the Geneva discussion board, made no reference to her long-awaited report on alleged abuses towards Uighurs. Her workplace started gathering proof 3.5 years in the past and in December her spokesman had promised its launch inside weeks.

Her advance crew would go away in April to put together the visit – the primary to China by a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since Ms Louise Arbour in 2005.

Mr Chen Xu, China’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, informed the discussion board that freedom of expression was totally protected in his nation, however added: “Freedom of expression can never be a pretext to make (put) anyone above the law.”

Mr Chen mentioned: “We welcome the High Commissioner’s visit to Xinjiang in this May. And China will work together with (her office) to make good preparation for this visit.”

Nearly 200 activist teams swiftly issued an open letter demanding that Ms Bachelet publish her findings “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”.

“We have been concerned by the relative silence of your Office in the face of these grave violations,” mentioned the teams together with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Mr Ken Roth, executive-director of Human Rights Watch, informed the Council: “Many of our organisations have documented the Chinese authorities’ systematic mass detention, torture and persecution concentrating on Uighurs and different Turkic communities in Xinjiang.

“The scale and nature of these violations amount to crimes against humanity… These are ongoing crimes that demand an immediate response.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci final week voiced concern in regards to the therapy of Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Mr Blinken mentioned on the time: “In China, the government continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang against predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other minority groups, and we urge the High Commissioner to release without delay her report on the situation there.”

Britain’s ambassador Simon Manley informed Reuters on Tuesday: “We welcome any effort to shed light on the systemic violations of human rights in Xinjiang. As we have consistently made clear, the High Commissioner must be granted fully unfettered access to the region that allows her to conduct an accurate assessment of the facts on the ground. We look forward to her report into the situation.”

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