Sat, 02 Jul 2022

New York [US], May 21 (ANI): Ahead of the much-anticipated visit of the UN Rights chief to China, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said the upcoming visit, which includes a trip to Xinjiang, should highlight the need for justice for victims of violations and accountability for those responsible.

High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet is set to visit China at the end of May, the first visit to China by a UN human rights commissioner since 2005.

A number of rights groups say the Chinese government has pursued widespread and systematic policies of mass detention, torture, cultural persecution, and other offences against Uyghurs and members of other Turkic groups in Xinjiang that amount to crimes against humanity.

Dozens of organizations have expressed grave concerns that the Chinese government will manipulate the visit as a public relations stunt while pressuring Bachelet to further delay her report or dilute its findings.

Sophie Richardson, China director at HRW, said Bachelet's legacy as high commissioner will be measured by her willingness to hold a powerful state accountable for crimes against humanity committed on her watch.

"It defies credibility that the Chinese government will allow the high commissioner to see anything they don't want her to see, or allow human rights defenders, victims and their families to speak to her safely, unsupervised and without fear of reprisal," said Richardson.

While the high commissioner has previously asserted that she would require "unfettered" access to Xinjiang, to conduct an "independent assessment," the terms of her visit have not been disclosed.

Sophie said the Chinese government is committing human rights violations on a scope and scale unimaginable since the last time a high commissioner visited in 2005, partly because there is no fear of accountability. "The high commissioner needs to work to end, not enable, that perception."The New York-based HRW and 59 other groups earlier urged High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to take several steps to prevent the Chinese government from manipulating the visit, announced for May 2022.

They have expressed doubt that Bachelet's team would be given unimpeded access. (ANI)

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