According to Reuters, the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s visit to China in May will include a stop in Xinjiang 新疆 region, where human rights abuses have been reported against the Uyghur population.
In a video address to the UN’s Human Rights Council, Bachelet said, “I am pleased to announce that we have recently reached an agreement with the government of China for a visit.”
Campaigners say that at least one million mostly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in “re-education camps” in Xinjiang. China is accused of widespread human rights abuses in this far-western region, including forced labor and women sterilizations.
Michelle Bachelet has been trying to gain access to Xinjiang for years, as the UN’s fundamental is to uphold human rights principles as “the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper indicated that Beijing had relented and agreed to a visit to Xinjiang by Bachelet, hinting that, in exchange, it expected her office to hold off publishing the reports that are so-called “against China.”
The discussions for “ongoing” Bachelet visit to China and “the parameters” have to be such that the high commissioner has “unfetter, meaningful access, including unsupervised interviews with civil society.”
According to Reuters, top officials like US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci had voiced concern about the human rights abuse of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
192 rights groups meanwhile on Tuesday demanded that Bachelet’s office release its long-postponed report on the rights situation in Xinjiang.
“The release of the report without further delay is essential – to send a message to victims and perpetrators alike that no state, no matter how powerful, is above international law or the robust independent scrutiny of your office,” the 192 groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty, wrote in an open letter.