March 8, 2022
In response to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet announcing an agreement with the Chinese government for a visit to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in May, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director Joanne Mariner said:
“Access to Xinjiang for human rights monitors is an absolutely vital step towards accountability for human rights violations committed by the Chinese government against Uyghurs and other Muslims living in the region. However, it is equally vital that any visit by High Commissioner Bachelet be independent and unhindered.
“In the past, diplomats and journalists’ visits to Xinjiang have been carefully stage managed by the authorities. Chinese government officials have also long made concerted efforts to disseminate inaccurate and deliberately misleading information about the human rights situation in Xinjiang.
“A fact-finding mission hampered by state control could end up whitewashing human rights violations – potentially making the UN complicit in promoting Chinese government propaganda.
“Bachelet’s office should disclose the details of its agreement with the Chinese government, including the parameters and scope of the visit to Xinjiang. It must also seek meaningful assurances from the government that people in Xinjiang will not face adverse consequences for cooperating with the UN mission.
“Finally, the planned visit announced today – after more than two years of seeking access – should not delay the release of the OHCHR’s long-awaited report on human rights violations in Xinjiang.”
Today, Amnesty joined almost 200 organizations in urging the High Commissioner to release her long-overdue report, which she said was being “finalised” in September 2021.