Monday, June 27, 2022

UN human rights chief asks China to reconsider Uighur policies

BEIJING ( Associated Press) – The top UN human rights official said on Saturday that he raised concerns with Chinese officials about the impact of widespread application of terrorism and anti-radicalism measures on the rights of Uighurs and other Muslim-majority groups in China’s Xinjiang region. .,

Michelle Bachelet, who visited Xinjiang as part of a six-day visit to China, said the visit was not an investigation but an opportunity to raise concerns with senior Chinese leaders. and paves the way for more regular dialogue to support China in meeting its obligations under international human rights law.

“This provides me with an opportunity to better understand the situation in China, but also to give the authorities in China an opportunity to better understand our concerns and potentially reconsider policies that we think have an impact on human rights.” can have negative effects,” she said in a video news conference. Last day of your journey.

It is uncertain whether China’s ruling Communist Party, which has strongly denied all reports of human rights violations and genocide in Xinjiang, will change its policies. Bachelet’s measured wordsWhile expected, this would not sit well with activists and governments such as the United States, which have been critical of her decision to visit Xinjiang.

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Bachelet, who made the first visit to China’s UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 17 years, said she raised the lack of independent judicial oversight for a system of internment camps that have swept away a million or more Uighurs and other ethnic minorities. Estimates by experts.

China, which describes the camps as vocational training and education centers to combat extremism, says they have been closed. The government has never publicly stated how many of those people passed away.

Bachelet, who visited a prison and former center in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar, noted that the program “tends toward extremism” and that the centers are charged with the use of force and the police to set unreasonably severe restrictions on religious practice. depended on.

“It is important that counter-terrorism responses do not result in human rights violations,” she said. “The application of relevant laws and policies and any mandated measures … need to be subject to independent judicial oversight with greater transparency in judicial proceedings.”

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Bachelet described the arrests of lawyers, activists, journalists and others under Hong Kong’s national security law as “deep concern”, given the semi-autonomous Chinese city’s reputation as a center for human rights and independent media in Asia. .

He said it was important to protect the linguistic, religious and cultural identity of Tibetans and they should be allowed to participate fully and freely in the decisions of their religious life. “I … emphasized the importance of children learning in their language and culture,” she said.

Prior to her visit, she said she heard from Uighur families living abroad who have lost contact with their loved ones. In its meetings in China, she said she raised a number of specific issues and urged officials to take steps to provide information to families as a priority.

“Those who sent me appeals asking to take up issues or matters with the authorities, I heard you,” she said. “Your advocacy matters.”

Bachelet said the United Nations and China have agreed to establish a working group to hold follow-up discussions on a range of issues, including minorities’ rights, terrorism and human rights, and legal protection.

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