UN report on Uyghur abuses to be released soon. Will it call out China?


The release of a formal investigation into the widespread incarceration of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities by UN top human rights official Michelle Bachelet is expected next week.

As per CNN, the investigation has the potential to change how the international community and senior UN officials have handled the testimonies of survivors and their families by strengthening the need for accountability in a way the UN system has not previously done.

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However, Bachelet has for some time been accused by human rights groups and academic experts of being soft on Beijing after her controversial visit to China in May.

Her critics said that she had the chance to draw attention to the horrifying human rights abuses committed by the Chinese government, but failed and that she refrained from denouncing the government’s widespread mistreatment of the Uyghur ethnic group.

The report has been pending for a long time. Bachelet stated in September 2021 that her office was “finalising its assessment,” and in December a representative stated that they anticipated publishing in the upcoming weeks. However, the report has stayed unpublished for months for mysterious reasons.

Also read | lesserities drafted into forced labour, possible ‘enslavement’ in China’s Xinjiang: UN expert

China denies all claims that it has mistreated Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

However, a recent report by an independent UN expert alleged that the Chinese government is engaging in forced labour schemes in Xinjiang that may constitute crimes against humanity.

Tomoya Obokata, the UN exceptional Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, stated in the report that the conclusions were “based on an independent assessment of available information”.

Also read | Meetings in Xinjiang ‘unsupervised’, China visit ‘not an investigation’: UN rights chief

Chinese foreign ministry, however, reaffirmed Beijing’s denial that forced labour ever occurred in Xinjiang, defended China’s history of upholding workers’ rights, and sharply criticised the report’s findings.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said at a daily briefing in Beijing, “A certain special rapporteur chooses to believe in lies and disinformation about Xinjiang spread by the US and some other Western countries and anti-China forces.”

(With inputs from agencies)


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