United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will visit China from May 23 to 28, amid reports of human rights abuses in the northwest region.
The human rights chief will visit China at the invitation of the government, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Friday.
The upcoming visit to China by the United Nations high commissioner for human rights should highlight the need for justice for victims of violations and accountability for those responsible, Human Rights Watch said today.
While the high commissioner has previously asserted that she would require “unfettered” access to Xinjiang, the Uyghur region, to conduct an “independent assessment,” the terms of her visit have not been disclosed, and Chinese authorities have insisted they will not allow anything other than a “friendly visit” for the purposes of dialogue.
“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,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “The high commissioner needs to work to end, not enable, that perception.”
In recent years, Chinese authorities have also sought to systematically eradicate Tibetans’ cultural, linguistic, and religious freedoms, and to erase Hong Kong peoples’ human rights and free society.
Several rights groups have said the planned visit to China by the UN high commissioner for human rights should meet minimum standards to be considered credible.
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.
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.