UN Rights Boss Says She Could Move To Xinjiang Without China’s Nodding | World news
GENEVA (Reuters) – The UN human rights chief is expected to document her own findings on the plight of Uyghurs in Xinjiang even without China’s blessing for a visit, Western activists and diplomats said, when his patience might run out.
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Monday that she hoped to agree on terms for a long-awaited visit to China this year to investigate the mass detention allegations, torture and forced labor.
Beijing denies all allegations of abuse against Uyghurs and other Turkish Muslims, describing the camps in its far west as vocational training centers to combat religious extremism.
Canada led a record 45 countries, including the United States, in urging China on Tuesday to allow Bachelet immediate access to Xinjiang for a first-hand assessment.
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China dismissed the statement as interference motivated by “political motives.” She said she welcomed a visit from Bachelet, but that she should focus on “promoting exchanges and cooperation rather than an investigation based on a so-called presumption of guilt.”
Bachelet then hinted at the Human Rights Council that she had other options, while continuing negotiations with China during a visit that has dragged on since September 2018.
“In the meantime, the office continues to deepen its analysis and assessment of alleged trends in human rights violations in Xinjiang,” she said Tuesday.
Bachelet has the power to collect testimonies of abuse remotely, without a mandate from the council or invitation from the country concerned. She and a predecessor launched such investigations into killings by security forces in Venezuela, the disputed territory of Kashmir and southeastern Turkey.
“There is no formal UN assessment of what is happening in Xinjiang and we need it given Beijing’s denial,” Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, told reporters. last week.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International this year documented what they believe may constitute crimes against humanity committed in Xinjiang.
Sarah Brooks, China expert at the International Service for Human Rights, said: “All that remains is High Commissioner Bachelet to step up – China’s cooperation should not be misinterpreted as a condition prerequisite to do its job. “
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Alex Richardson)
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