The UN has a chance to show the genocide of the Uighurs in China. Will you have courage?

By the end of August, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is expected to release an expected report on violations in this area by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang, in the northwest

Human rights groups and numerous reports denounce the mass incarceration of members of the Uighur Muslim minority in the region (in units called by China re-education camps, under the pretext of to combat extremism), torture, sexual violence, executions, religious persecution and ethnic cleansing – which consisted of orchestrating the immigration of Han people, the majority in China, and the emigration of Uighurs through incarceration, thus making it difficult to perpetuate this ethnicity, in addition to sterilizations and forced abortions and forced transfer of children.

This process, in which more than 1 million Uighurs were arrested, was classified by the United States as genocide . China denies it.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, was in Xinjiang in May and assured that her report on the matter will be released before her departure from office, in August 31 – she will not seek a new term at the head of the United Nations body.

However, human rights groups fear that the document is lenient with China, for reasons that start with the circumstances of Bachelet’s stay in Xinjiang: Amnesty International noted that she did not speak to any detained Uighurs and was accompanied by the all the time by officials of the Chinese regime.

“She also did not recognize serious human rights violations in China after her brief trip,” the group said in a statement. “Chinese government propaganda says that Xinjiang is the ‘land of happiness’. This is far from the truth.”

To increase mistrust, the Reuters agency reported in July that it had access to a letter from the Chinese government in which it asks the UN to the report is shelved.

“The evaluation , if published, will intensify politicization and clashes between blocks of countries in the area of ​​human rights, undermine the credibility of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and undermine cooperation between OHCHR and member states,” the letter said. “We emphatically ask the High Commissioner not to publish such an assessment.”

Next, Bachelet denied having received such a letter, but was evasive about alleged Chinese pressure not to disclose the report.

“There is no letter from the Chinese authorities, no. The truth is that there is a letter from countries, just as there are letters from countries that ask me to publish it, there are letters from countries that ask me not to publish it, this is normal”, he declared, during a press conference in a passing through Lima.

In June, Bachelet had acknowledged that she had not been able to speak to any Uighur detainees, but claimed that she had collected elements of the situation in Xinjiang in other ways. “I was not able to speak with any Uighurs currently detained or their families, but in anticipation of this, I met former detainees who are out of the country and families who have lost contact with their loved ones in that region”, he justified.

However, these limitations and Bachelet’s hesitation in condemning China increase the fear among human rights organizations that the expected document will be lenient with the communist dictatorship.

“We believe that the UN report on Xinjiang, promised for this month, will be something completely ‘white plate’”, pointed out Jorge Ithallo dos Santos, president of Democracy Without Borders, in a statement sent to Gazeta

“First, the guided tour by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, became a bad joke right away because it was conducted by Chinese government officials and visits defined by them. Second, because, in fact, there is no way to write and produce a report on what has not been seen, after all. This position saddens activists around the world who have constantly protested for an end to violations of human rights and freedoms in China”, argued Santos.

China fears that a report blunt force of the United Nations serves as a justification for sanctions against the country: assuming the use of forced labor, a law that took effect in the United States in June prohibits imports from Xinjiang unless the importer proves that the goods were not produced under these conditions.

“Ammunition” for the Communist Party

In an article published in July on the Swissinfo website, two directors of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Tamara Taraciuk Broner and Sophie Richardson, criticized Bachelet for statements that “it would be presumptuous” to “try to summarize the full complexity of the human rights situation of this vast country [China] in one statement” and for having publicly accepted China’s claim that actions in Xinjiang are aimed at “counterterrorism” and that that prisons for Uighurs are “vocational education training centers”.

“The visit [de Bachelet] provided the Chinese Communist Party with ammunition to deny its abuses and harmed recent efforts by activists and governments to press for justice,” added the directors.

“She may still save her legacy before her term ends. She should immediately release the report on the abuses in Xinjiang, speak clearly about the scope and widespread and systematic nature of the Chinese government’s abuses, and call for the release of all wrongfully detained. It must also engage in regular dialogue with Uighur and Tibetan and Chinese human rights groups,” said Broner and Richardson.

Otherwise, it will be up to Bachelet’s successor. “undo the harm” of possible negligence by the current commissioner and denounce “the ways in which the Chinese government seeks to weaken the UN human rights system, which range from undermining norms to rejecting all criticism as politicized”, according to the directors.

Back to top button