UN rights chief acknowledges ‘tremendous pressure’ on China’s rights report

Geneva, Aug 25 (EFE).- The outgoing UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet Thursday acknowledged that there was “tremendous pressure” over a long-awaited report on human rights in China.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva days before her four-year term ends on Aug.31, Bachelet said none of it would deter the United Nations human rights agency from publishing the delayed report on China’s Xinjiang region.

The report focuses on the human rights situation of the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the north-western region.

The United States, its allies, and global human rights defenders have accused China of committing crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against the Uyghur population and other minority ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

Rights groups believe China has detained more than one million Uyghurs in internment camps and sentenced hundreds of thousands to prison terms.

China has vehemently denied the charges, saying the government has admitted them to “re-education camps.”

The Chinese government claims it was running the training centers in Xinjiang to counter extremism.

Bachelet acknowledged that she had received a letter from 40 countries asking her not to publish the report that her office had been preparing for a couple of years.

“I had fully intended for it to be released before the end of my mandate,” Bachelet told reporters.

She said her office would “need to carefully review” the report since they had received substantial input from the government.

“We are trying very hard to do what I promised,” she said.

“(There has been) tremendous pressure to publish or not to publish. But I will not publish or withhold publication due to any such pressure.”

The finalization of the report was delayed after the Chinese government in May allowed the rights chief to visit the country.

Bachelet said the visit was a priority because it provided her a unique opportunity to see first-hand what was happening in the country and contact the relatives of detained Uyghurs.

She had promised several months ago that she would release the report before the end of her mandate.

However, it appears uncertain now, with just days to go until her term ends. EFE


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