US to China: Give UN full access to Xinjiang to probe into alleged abuses

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The United States said the UN rights chief must have “unhindered and unsupervised access” to all areas of the Xinjiang region to investigate alleged abuses of Uyghurs during her planned visit in May.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet on Tuesday announced that she had reached an agreement with Beijing for a long-sought visit, including a stop in Xinjiang.

It would be the first visit to China by a UN high commissioner for human rights since 2005.

Ms. Sheba Crocker, US Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said that Ms. Bachelet must be able to hold private meetings with a range of Uyghurs and groups in Xinjiang, and have access to places where “atrocities” and abuses including forced labour have been reported.

“Any access limitations imposed on the High Commissioner or her office, or interference with their activities or reporting, would severely undermine the credibility of her visit and support the propaganda that denies the abuses occurring in Xinjiang,” she said.

Activists say some one million Uyghurs have been held in mass detention in the remote western region.

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

Ms Crocker also urged Ms. Bachelet to release “the existing, long-anticipated” report by her office on alleged violations in Xinjiang without further delay.

Ms. Bachelet, in her speech to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, made no reference to the report, for which her office began gathering evidence and testimony in late 2018. (Source: The Straits Times)

 

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