China has asked the United Nations human rights chief to shelve a long-awaited report on human rights violations in Xinjiang province, according to a Chinese document seen by Reuters and confirmed by US diplomats. three countries that received it.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has faced harsh accusations of being too soft on China during a visit to the country in May, after which she has said she will refrain from running for a second term. for personal reasons. But before leaving office at the end of August, he has promised to publish a report on the Xinjiang region of western China. Human rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses against members of Xinjiang’s Uyghur Muslim minority, including the use of large-scale forced labor in internment camps. China has strongly denied the allegations. The Chinese-drafted document expresses “serious concern” about the Xinjiang report and intends to stop its publication, said four sources, the three diplomats and a rights expert who spoke on condition of anonymity. They all said that China started distributing the document to various diplomatic missions in Geneva from the end of June, asking countries to sign it to show their support.
“The assessment (on Xinjiang), if published, will intensify politicization and bloc confrontation in the field of human rights, undermine the credibility of the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) and harm cooperation between the OHCHR and member states,” the document says, referring to Bachelet’s office.
“We strongly urge the High Commissioner not to publish such an assessment.”
Liu Yuyin, a spokesman for China’s diplomatic mission in Geneva, did not say whether the document was sent or respond to questions about its content. Liu said nearly 100 countries have recently expressed their support for China on Xinjiang-related issues “and their objection to interference in China’s internal affairs under the guise of human rights.”
This support was manifested through public statements at the latest session of the UN Human Rights Council, which ended on July 8, and through the “joint letter,” Liu added, using a term denoting China and the other signatories.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters that Bachelet would have witnessed a “real Xinjiang with a secure and stable society” when she visited the region during her May trip to China. The Chinese spokesman said attempts by some countries to “smear China’s image” using the Xinjiang issue will not succeed.
It was not clear whether Bachelet received the letter, and a OHCHR spokesman declined to comment.
The High Commissioner’s spokesman added that the Xinjiang report is being finalized before publication, and that this includes the usual practice of sharing a copy with China for comment. The report will address China’s treatment of the region’s Uyghur minority. A team of human rights experts began gathering evidence for the report more than three years ago, but its release has been delayed for months for unclear reasons. GLM was unable to establish how many signatures the Chinese document received. One of the four sources, a diplomat based in Geneva, responded to the letter positively giving the country’s support for him.
Another version of the letter, also consulted by Reuters, is more critical of Bachelet’s actions, stating that the report on Xinjiang was carried out “without a mandate and in serious breach of the duties of the OHCHR (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights),” and that it would undermine his personal credibility.
It was unclear who edited it or why. The diplomat who signed the letter said that the mildest version would be the final one.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.