UN rights chief cites ‘need' to assess rights in Xinjiang

| | Geneva
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UN rights chief cites ‘need' to assess rights in Xinjiang

Saturday, 27 February 2021 | AP | Geneva

The United Nations' human rights chief on Friday cited the need for an “independent and comprehensive assessment” of the rights situation in China's Xinjiang region, while emphasising that activists, lawyers and rights defenders face unfair charges, detention and trials in China.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said her office is working to find “mutually agreeable parameters” for her to visit China, including Xinjiang. Efforts to arrange such a visit for the human rights commissioner date to before she took office in September 2018.

Bachelet discussed China while giving the U.N.'s Human Rights Council her regular update on the rights situation worldwide, this time involving some 50 countries.

Bachelet credited China's progress in curbing COVID-19 but said “fundamental rights and civic freedoms continue to be curtailed in the name of national security and the COVID-19 response.” She said over 600 people are being investigated for participating in protests in Hong Kong.

Concerns about detention centers -- which China calls training centers -- for Muslim Uyghurs and others in Xinjiang have provoked human rights concerns for many months, and Bachelet's office and Chinese authorities have so far failed to arrange a visit for her to the region.       

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