U.N. wants to monitor PRC’s treatment of Uighurs
United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to allow in monitors after “deeply disturbing” allegations that Uighurs have been detained in large “re-education camps” in Xinjiang province.
Her appeal for access came as Human Rights Watch reported that the Turkic, mostly Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang, face arbitrary detentions, daily restrictions on religious practice and “forced political indoctrination” in a mass security crackdown.
A U.N. rights panel said in August 2018 it had received credible reports that up to 1 million Uighurs may be held in extra-legal detention in the far western province and called for them to be freed.
The PRC has rejected the allegations of internment camps and accused “external factors” of causing turbulence in the restive region.
Bachelet, a former Chilean president making her maiden speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, said the panel had brought to light “deeply disturbing allegations of large-scale arbitrary detentions of Uighurs and other Muslim communities, in so-called re-education camps across Xinjiang.”
Reports had been received of “patterns of human rights violations in other regions,” she said. Bachelet, pictured, called on the Beijing government to permit access for her staff across China, saying that she expected discussions to start soon.
There was no immediate comment from the Chinese delegation to the council.
Bachelet promised to be a voice for victims. “I have been a political detainee and the daughter of political detainees. I have been a refugee and a physician — including for children who experienced torture and the enforced disappearance of their parents,” she told the 47-member forum in Geneva.