- A CORRESPONDENT
The United States on Wednesday called on the Chinese government to grant “unimpeded and unmonitored access” to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, during her visit to China and the Western region. from Xinjiang in May.
Ambassador Sheba Crocker, the U.S. permanent representative to the UN agencies in Geneva, said any interference in the work of Bachelet’s team would support ‘propaganda’ that denies alleged violations of members’ rights of the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang and others.
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaks to the media at the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, November 3, 2021. PHOTO: Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP/File Photo.
Crocker said a credible visit by the UN human rights chief and her team should involve access to “places where atrocities, human rights violations and abuses” have taken place. been reported.
“We call on the People’s Republic of China to ensure that his visit enjoys unhindered and unsupervised access to all areas of Xinjiang and private meetings with a wide range of Uyghur individuals and groups in society. civil,” Crocker said in a statement.
“Any access restrictions imposed on the high commissioner or his office, or any interference in their activities or reporting, would seriously damage the credibility of his visit and support propaganda that denies abuses in Xinjiang,” he said. she added.
Crocker, who took office in mid-January, also called on Bachelet to release a long-awaited and much-delayed report from his office on Xinjiang.
Many human rights groups and human rights organizations have chronicled or denounced allegations of human rights violations against Uyghurs and others in the region, but the report from the office of Bachelet would be accompanied by the imprimatur of the United Nations.
Diplomats in Geneva said the report had been ready – or very close – for months. Bachelet’s office did not say when he planned to release the report or whether his visit to China, announced on Tuesday, would affect the timing of its release.
More than a million people have been confined to camps in Xinjiang, according to foreign governments and researchers. Critics of the Chinese government’s policies in the region have denounced an alleged crackdown on religious practices, the imposition of forced labor and other measures like birth control against minorities – saying some of these measures could qualify as crimes against humanity.
Beijing rejects complaints of abuse and says the camps are for job training to support economic development and fight Islamic radicalism. The government has pressured foreign clothing and shoe brands to reverse their decision to stop using Xinjiang cotton amid reports of possible forced labor.