Beijing [China], May 11 (ANI): China on Wednesday welcomed the upcoming visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to the country’s Xinjiang province this month amid reports of human rights abuses in the northwest region.
“The preparatory team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has arrived in China and is currently undergoing quarantine in accordance with relevant anti-COVID-19 protocols,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a daily press briefing.
“The preparatory team has begun work and the two sides are discussing the specific arrangements for the visit,” he said.
The planned visit to China by the United Nations high commissioner for human rights should meet minimum standards to be considered credible, several rights groups have said.
Bachelet announced on March 8 that she has secured a visit to China “foreseen to take place in May”.
Her announcement in an update to the UN Human Rights Council comes three and a half years after she publicly requested unrestricted access to China for the first time.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (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.
This comes as the five-person delegation of the UN rights chief, invited by the Chinese government reached China. Once out of quarantine, they are expected to visit Xinjiang province, according to media reports.
The Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU), a Washington-based Uyghur rights organization, has expressed doubt that Bachelet’s team would be given unimpeded access.
Dozens of rights groups say the Chinese government has committed widespread and systematic policies of mass detention, torture, cultural persecution, and other offenses against Uyghurs and members of other Turkic groups in Xinjiang that amount to crimes against humanity. (ANI)