UN Rights Chief Regrets Lack Of Access To China’s Xinjiang To Probe Uyghurs Muslims’ Situation


New Delhi: United Nations’ Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Monday the organisation’s efforts to gain access to the Xinjiang region of China have not succeeded. The global watchdog intends to probe reports of alleged rights violations of Muslim Uyghurs by Chisene authorities.

Bachelet said she is in the process of finalising a report on the situation, Reuters reported.

At the opening of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, she said: “I regret that I am not able to report progress on my efforts to seek meaningful access to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” 

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights added: “In the meantime, my Office is finalising its assessment of the available information on allegations of serious human rights violations in that region, with a view to making it public.”

The UN Human Rights Council is holding its regular 48th session, which started on Monday and will continue till 8 October, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Bachelet presented an update on her annual report Monday. 

Over the four weeks, the council is scheduled to discuss almost 90 reports presented by experts and rights bodies on thematic themes and the rights situation in over 40 countries, the council had said in a statement issued last week.

It is set to organise at least 30 interactive debates with mandate holders.

On Afghanistan and Sri Lanka

In her oral update on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, Bachelet said she was concerned over the reports of civilian casualties and human rights abuses, and the “growing hardship caused by the dire humanitarian situation there”. 

Noting that the country is facing “deepening humanitarian and economic crisis”, she said Afghanistan has entered a “perilous phase”, with many Afghans, particularly women and ethnic and religious communities, “profoundly concerned for their human rights”.

She said the rights of all Afghan refugees must be upheld, and stressed on support for the neighbouring countries that are sheltering them.

Bachelet appealed to the council to take “bold and vigorous action” by establishing a dedicated mechanism to monitor the evolving rights situation in Afghanistan. She said her office will continue to monitor the rights of the Afghan people and “assist in protecting and advancing those rights”.

On the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, Bachelet noted President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement in June that his government will work with the UN “to ensure accountability”, and implement “necessary institutional reforms”. She said: “I look forward to seeing concrete actions to this effect – in line with the recommendations that have been made in our reports and by various human rights mechanisms – and my Office stands ready to engage.”

The general debate on Bachelet’s update will start on Tuesday and conclude the following day.

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