The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced she would make a visit to China but remained muted on the release of the long-awaited report on China’s gross violations of human rights in Uyghur muslim regions that her office has prepared for the publication, long ago. Human Rights Watch and nearly 200 rights groups have voiced disappointment and called the High Commissioner to release the report “without any further delay”.
In the ongoing 49th UNHRC regular session, on 08 March, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the agreement has been reached with the Chinese government to visit China, including Xinjiang and other places, in May this year. The High Commissioner also stated her office has already initiated “the concrete preparations for a visit”. The UN rights office’s advance team to prepare the visit is expected to go to China next month.
Also, expressing concerned over China’s restriction on freedom of movement and ill treatment of individuals, such as house arrests and imprisonments on ground of criminal charges stemming from human rights activities, the High Commissioner called upon the Chinese government to respect and protect freedom of expression and opinion, in her oral update to the UN Human Rights Council.
The Tibet Bureau in Geneva welcomed the UN High Commissioner’s announcement and said a visit to China is crucial in bringing accountability. It is equally crucial to ensure the visit should be unfettered, independent and free from state-control itinerary in order to uphold the sanctity of UN rights offices. The Bureau has repeatedly urged the High Commissioner to visit Tibet to make any visit to China holistic.