UN Human Rights Chief Slammed For ‘snubbing Findings’ Over China’s Repression Of Uyghurs

Human rights activists and scholars have come together to accuse the UN Human Rights Chief of having snubbed or contradicted academic findings on the abuses in Xinjiang with her statements. Late last month, Michelle Bachelet visited the controversial Chinese territory and thereafter, concluded that it wasn’t an investigation but an opportunity to discuss the alleged atrocities with the Xi Jinping administration. Earlier this week, the group consisting of 39 academicians penned an open letter, asking Bachelet to release the long-awaited UN report on human rights abuses in China.

They said her statement “ignored and even contradicted the academic findings that our colleagues, including two signatories to this letter, provided”. “It is rare that an academic field arrives at the level of consensus that specialists in the study of Xinjiang have reached,” the letter said. Calling for a report on human rights abuse in the region, they wrote they were unanimous in understanding that the “Chinese state is doing on the ground.”

Bachelet made her six-day visit to China last week in May. Starting in the southern city of Guangzhou, she travelled to Xinjiang cities of Kashgar, once a stop on the Silk Road, and Urumqi, the region’s capital. In the letter, the academicians underscored that Bachelet not only failed to condemn China’s draconian policies but also declined to mention any of them beyond the mass internment program, which she referred to using Beijing’s latest euphemism, “vocational training education centres.”

Letter highlights agony of Uyghurs

“In the spring of 2017, hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other Indigenous people began quietly disappearing into prisons and internment camps in China’s “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. By the end of that year, this secretive internment program had become obvious to the small community of international scholars who specialize in the study of the region, and in 2018 we wrote to United Nations officials urging an investigation,” the letter states. China has allegedly detained more than a million Uyghurs — a Muslim minority community — reasoning that it needs to ‘eliminate extremism’. Media reports have said that at least a million of Uyghurs have been incinerated in those camps.

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