Over 230 rights NGOs seek UN rights chief’s resignation over China visit, silence on Tibet

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Over 230 rights NGOs seek UN rights chief’s resignation over China visit, silence on Tibet

Accusing her of having “whitewashed” Beijing’s “atrocities” during her trip to China and  Xinjiang, more than 230 rights groups have called for the resignation of UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet.

The groups, advocating for the rights of Uyghurs, Tibetans, and South Mongolians, as well as Hong Kong, Chinese and international democracy advocates, have signed a joint statement calling for “the immediate resignation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

The signatories have said Bachelet had been “entirely silent on the human rights crisis enveloping Tibet” during her four years in office, and had “grossly underplayed the crackdown” in Hong Kong.

They have urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to refrain from proposing a second term when her mandate expires at the end of August.

The signatories have decried Bachelet for having “squandered a rare opportunity to promote accountability by failing to address the litany of systematic human rights violations committed by the Chinese authorities”.

Instead, they said, “She whitewashed the Chinese government’s human rights atrocities,” and “legitimised Beijing’s attempt to cover up its crimes by using the Chinese government’s false ‘counter-terrorism’ framing”.

They have also decried that she had repeatedly referred to the detention camps in Xinjiang by the Chinese government’s preferred term: “vocational education and training centres”.

Besides, they have criticized her for failing to speak out about the leaked Xinjiang police files, which was revealed by the global media as her trip began, showing top leaders in Beijing including President Xi Jinping had called for a forceful crackdown.

They have also questioned her failure to release a report on the rights situation in Xinjiang, completed last year, despite mounting demands.

“The failed visit by the high commissioner has … severely compromised the integrity of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in promoting and protecting human rights globally,” the statement has said.

Bachelet is expected to face significant scrutiny from states over her China trip during the next week’s session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Bachelet has insisted that her visit was not an investigation, which the Chinese government would not allow, but an opportunity to interact directly with the Chinese leadership on human rights issues. China’s official media later claimed that Bachelet’s visit vindicated Beijing on widespread allegations of genocide in Xinjiang. NGOs and others had warned beforehand that China would use her trip, if undertaken, to support its false propaganda on its rights record and other purposes.

—, Jun 09, 2022