The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) has voiced its serious dissatisfaction with the conclusions of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s tour to China, which included a visit to Xinjiang. According to a press release from the WUC, the human rights organisations along with WUC and various other Uyghur have claimed that this visit has turned out to be a “propaganda opportunity” for China to whitewash its atrocities and genocide against the Uyghur people, just as they predicted.
Dolkun Isa, the President of WUC, stated, “As expected, the High Commissioner has wasted a historic opportunity to investigate the Uyghur genocide and deliver justice to the Uyghur people.” He went on to say that by complying with China’s interests and organising a tour that “by no means adequately addressed justice for Uyghurs and accountability for those responsible”, the High Commissioner Bachelet has “ruined her office’s credibility,” as per the release.
Bachelet who was on a six-day tour, arrived in China on Monday, May 23. According to a CNN report, she was expected to visit the far-western province of Xinjiang, where the Chinese government is accused of mass detention, forced assimilation, forced labour, and forced sterilisation against Uyghur and other primarily Muslim minorities.
Rights groups claim UN visit must achieve certain conditions in order to be meaningful
The WUC and other rights organizations have emphasised for years, even in the months leading up to the High Commissioner’s planned trip, that such a visit must achieve certain conditions in order to be meaningful, such as unrestricted access to East Turkistan (Xinjiang) and the ability to communicate freely and openly with Uyghur victims without fear of retaliation or intimidation, as per the release.
Additionally, the WUC has constantly advocated for the release of the Independent Report of the High Commissioner on Human Rights Violations in East Turkistan, which has yet to come.
Furthermore, the High Commissioner’s press announcement, as per WUC, indicates that this was not an investigation into the atrocity crimes and genocide in East Turkistan. Bachelet indicated that she was “unable to assess” the entire context of infractions in Vocational Education and Training Centers (VETCs).
Previously, media reports suggested that the UN human rights chief’s visit to China would not be a probe, but rather an opportunity to “promote, protect, and respect human rights”, ANI reported. Further, this tour coincides with the publication of the Xinjiang Police Files, which reveal the magnitude and severity of China’s mass detention programs in East Turkistan.
Following Bachelet’s unsatisfactory visit, the WUC encouraged her office to issue an independent analysis of the situation in East Turkistan as a sign of commitment to hold China responsible for atrocities against humanity and genocide.
During the six-day visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping has spoken with UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet in a video conference. As per official broadcaster CCTV, as quoted by AP, during the discussion, Xi Jinping emphasised that China is focusing on human rights development that “suits its own national conditions.” Countries should not “patronise lectures” on human rights or politicise human rights concerns, according to Jinping.