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U.N. Human Rights to visit Xinjiang

The U.N. Human Rights will visit the Chinese region of Xinjiang while its inquiry on the persecution of Uyghurs by the Chinese government hasn't been released, yet.

MIchelle Bachelet
Michelle Bachelet | UN Women/Catianne Tijerina, 2013

The United Nations Human Rights Office will be able to visit Xinjiang, the Chinese region where Uyghurs are allegedly victims of persecution, mass-detention and genocide.

Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of Chile said on March 8 the office reached an agreement with China's government for a visit in May.

She said the Chinese government has also accepted the visit of an advance team from her office next month "to prepare my stay in China, including on-site visits to Xinjiang and other places". Preparation of the visit has already begun.

Bachelet has talked about hoping to visit Xinjiang nearly since she took office in 2018. But her office still hasn't released results of an inquiry on Uyghur human rights in the region.

The Human Rights Watch published an open letter signed by 192 human rights groups on March 8 urging the High Commissioner to release the "report on Chinese government rights violations targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities".

The HRW denounces "systematic state-organized mass detention, torture, persecution, and other violations of a scale and nature amounting to crimes against humanity".

Beijing says the sites are vocational training centers aimed at helping improve economic fortunes and counteract bouts of extremist violence in Xinjiang.

The U.N. office based in Geneva said the report was almost ready to be published for months. Speaking to the rights council on Thursday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on Bachelet's office to release the report.

"Human rights groups have become increasingly concerned that the U.N. human rights office has still not published its long-awaited report on Xinjiang, even as the atrocity crimes pile up," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

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