UN Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s visit to China should highlight need for justice (HRW)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s highly anticipated trip to China, which also includes a visit to Xinjiang, should underscore the need for justice for victims of violations and accountability for those responsible, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) Friday. . It is the first time that a United Nations commissioner for human rights has visited the Asian country since 2005, Michelle Bachelet is expected to visit China during the last 10 days of this month.

It is pertinent to note here that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has previously claimed that she would need ‘unfettered’ access to Xinjiang, the Uyghur region, to conduct an ‘independent assessment’. . However, the terms of his visit have not yet been disclosed. Meanwhile, his visit has already drawn criticism from Chinese authorities who have insisted they will allow nothing but a “friendly visit” for the purposes of dialogue.

‘The Chinese government has been committing human rights abuses on an unimaginable scale and scale since a high commissioner last visited in 2005, in part because there is no fear of accountability’ said Sophie Richardson, HRW’s China director. “The High Commissioner must work to end, not allow, this perception.”

Chinese campaign “Strike hard against violent extremism”

In 2014, Chinese authorities launched the “Hard Strike Against Violent Extremism”, which reportedly escalated into large-scale systematic policies of mass detention, torture, cultural persecution and other crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic populations of Xinjiang. Several countries, including the United States and Canada, have already accused China of committing crimes against humanity.

Additionally, researchers and human rights experts from the United Nations have called the Chinese government’s handling of minorities in the country and the government’s misuse of terrorism charges a human rights violation. , mass surveillance, cultural persecution and destruction of historical and religious sites. Hundreds of victims of the “Strike Hard” campaign have shared stories of their experiences. Chinese government documents were also leaked in 2019 revealing their intent to commit the same large-scale violations.

Violations against Uyghurs in Chinese Xinjiang

Around one to two million Uyghurs and members of other minorities are believed to be held in several camps in Xinjiang. According to The Hong Kong Post, in these camps, inmates are asked to renounce their religion, avoid maintaining any religious identity, study Marxism and work in factories. However, China has repeatedly dismissed the allegations of human rights abuses as “false”. Instead, Chinese authorities have referred to the “detention centers” as “re-education” camps.

Image: AP

Elna M. Lemons