The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said during her press conference On Thursday, the international body’s human rights commission had come under “enormous pressure” over its forthcoming report on human rights in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, both from those who demanding the publication of the report than of those who were urging him to cancel its publication. a further postponement of the publication of the report.
“We are trying to do what I promised,” Bachelet said, referring to an earlier vow that she would release the UN report before the end of her four-year term as high commissioner on August 31. However, she added that the “tremendous pressure” from both sides of the debate had complicated her decision. The high commissioner and former president of Chile said she received a letter signed by representatives of forty different countries on urging not to release the report, along with dozens of other posts urging him to release it on time.
“You can’t imagine the number of letters, meetings asking for publication,” she said. “Huge amounts…every day, every time.”
Bachelet, however, insisted that these missives would not affect his decision. “I have been under tremendous pressure to post or not to post, but I will not post or withhold post because of such pressure,” she said.
Instead, Bachelet argued that the main factor determining the report’s release date was the need to “carefully consider” the comments submitted by the Chinese government in response to the UN’s initial findings. China has been accused of imprisoning around a million native Uyghurs from the region in concentration camps and subjecting them to forced labor and sterilization – a campaign that the US State Department and others Western countries have called it “genocide”, although Beijing vigorously disputes this claim. .
The release of the report also comes after Bachelet visited Xinjiang in May as part of a planned six-day tour of China. At the time, the US government warned that it was “deeply concerned” that the UN delegation would be held on a leash by the Chinese government; State Department spokesman Ned Price underline that Washington had “no expectation” that Beijing would “grant the necessary access to conduct a comprehensive and unmanipulated assessment of the human rights environment in Xinjiang”.
Trevor Filseth is a news and foreign affairs editor for the National interest.