Sat, 24 Jul 2021

UN rights chief seeks Xinjiang visit this year

22 Jun 2021, 18:55 GMT+10

Geneva [Switzerland], June 22 (ANI): UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has said that she hopes to agree on terms with China for a visit this year to Xinjiang province, to look into reports of serious abuse against Uyghurs.

Amid the growing pressure from the international community to secure access to Xinjiang, this is the first time that UN rights official has suggested a timeline for the visit.

Addressing the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, Bachelet on Monday said that the United Nations is discussing with China modalities for a visit to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

"Separately, I continue to discuss with China modalities for a visit, including meaningful access, to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and hope this can be achieved this year, particularly as reports of serious human rights violations continue to emerge."Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang face systematic state-organized mass imprisonment, torture and persecution amounting to crimes against humanity, according to Amnesty International's report published earlier this month.

In the latest report, the rights group released dozens of new testimonies from former detainees detailing the extreme measures taken by Chinese authorities since 2017 to essentially root out the religious traditions, cultural practices and local languages of the region's Muslim ethnic groups. Carried out under the guise of fighting "terrorism", these crimes have targeted ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Hui, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Tajiks.

Meanwhile, in its strongest rebuke of China, the Group of Seven (G7) countries had urged China to "respect human rights and fundamental freedoms" in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

The group called on China "to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law".

Meanwhile, China dismissed these remarks saying that the days when a "small" group of countries decided the fate of the world were long gone. (ANI)

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