July 2, 2022
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UN rights chief says she urged China to review counter-terrorism policies

BEIJING — United Nations (UN) human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, whose uncommon go to to China was criticized by rights teams and Western nations, mentioned she urged Beijing to review its counter-terrorism policies to guarantee they adjust to worldwide human rights requirements.

Ms. Bachelet reiterated, nonetheless, that her six-day journey, which ended on Saturday and included a go to to the western area of Xinjiang, was not an investigation into China’s human rights policies however a chance to have interaction with the federal government.

Ms. Bachelet began her China journey, the primary by a UN Human Rights Excessive Commissioner in 17 years, on Monday within the southern metropolis of Guangzhou earlier than heading to Xinjiang.

Her office mentioned final 12 months it believed Uyghurs in Xinjiang had been unlawfully detained, mistreated and compelled to work.

“I have raised questions and concerns about the application of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures under broad application, particularly the impact on the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities,” she mentioned throughout a web-based press briefing on Saturday.

China denies all accusations of abuse in Xinjiang.

Ms. Bachelet’s entry was restricted as China organized for her to journey in a “closed loop” — isolating folks inside a digital bubble to stop the unfold of COVID-19 — with no overseas press.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Washington “remains concerned” about Ms. Bachelet’s journey to China.

“We are concerned the conditions Beijing authorities imposed on the visit did not enable a complete and independent assessment of the human rights environment in the PRC, including in Xinjiang, where genocide and crimes against humanity are ongoing,” Mr. Blinken mentioned in a press release late on Saturday.

The US was “further troubled” by experiences Xinjiang residents have been pressured not to complain about situations within the space. “The High Commissioner should have been allowed confidential meetings with family members of Uyghur and other ethnic minority diaspora communities in Xinjiang who are not in detention facilities but are forbidden from traveling out of the region,” he mentioned.

Rights teams and Western nations fear that China will use her journey as an endorsement of its rights file. US State Division spokesman Ned Value had mentioned on Tuesday it was “a mistake to agree to a visit under the circumstances.”

China initially denied the existence of any detention camps in Xinjiang however in 2018 mentioned it had arrange “vocational training centers” essential to curb what it mentioned was terrorism, separatism and spiritual radicalism within the area.

Ms. Bachelet mentioned she raised with the Chinese language authorities the shortage of unbiased judicial oversight on the operation of the facilities and allegations of using pressure, ill-treatment and extreme restrictions on spiritual follow.

In the course of the media briefing, Ms. Bachelet additionally described as “deeply worrying” the detention in Hong Kong of activists, legal professionals and journalists. — Reuters

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