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New UN rights chief vows to push China on serious abuse allegations

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(, Dec10’22) – The top new United Nations human rights official who assumed office after his predecessor’s term ended on Aug 31 this year has said Dec 9 that his office will continue reaching out to Beijing about the existing allegations of serious abuses in the People’s Republic of China.

It may be noted that the office of former UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet published a report in August stating that China’s incarceration and ill-treatment of Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in the western region of Xinjiang may constitute crimes against humanity.

Her successor, High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, has called the report “a very important one” that “highlighted very serious human rights concerns.”

“My focus is on following up on the recommendations that are contained in the report,” the AP Dec 9 quoted Türk as saying at a news conference in Geneva.

“We will, and I will, personally continue engaging with the authorities,” the Austrian has said, adding: “Hope springs eternal for changes.”

Beijing not only rejected the report after its release, but also made it clear that human rights in Xinjiang – as in Tibet and elsewhere – are out of bound for any discussion, calling any move to do so or criticize it by anyone an interference in China’s internal affairs.

And so, with regard to the Xinjiang allegations, China indicated that it would close the door to cooperation with the UN human rights office after the report’s release, noted Reuters Dec 9.

A Western-led effort to launch a debate on the Xinjiang report at the Human Rights Council failed in October due to intensive lobbying against it from China.

Turk is a former under-secretary general for policy under the current UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.


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