(TibetanReview.net, Feb03’22) – The United Nations human rights office appears to be entertaining a wishful thinking that China will allow its chief to visit Xinjiang on its terms after the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics of Feb-Mar 2022 in withholding the release of a long overdue report on the rights situation there.
The report has been in the works for three years and is believed to have been ready for publication for much of that time, noted the scmp.com Feb 3.
But now the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has said there was still no timeline to release its first ever report on the region.
Critics have accused the OHCHR and China of fabricating a “mutually convenient stalemate” after the former confirmed that it will not publish the report before the
Beijing Winter Olympics.
The UN Human Rights Commissioner, Ms Michelle Bachelet, has been negotiating with Beijing since Sep 2018 for a visit to Xinjiang, where some 1 million Uyghurs are alleged to have been held in mass detention camps, the report noted.
China was reported to have finally approved a visit to the region sometime after the Games, which opens on Feb 4, on the prerequisite that the trip should be “friendly” in nature and not framed as an investigation.
Another precondition for hosting a visit was that Bachelet’s office should hold off on publishing the Xinjiang report ahead of the Games.
Earlier, the scmp.com Jan 27 cited Rupert Colville, a spokesman for Bachelet, as having said in Dec 2021 that the office hoped to publish its report “in the coming weeks”. This was stated to have followed a remark by the UN human rights office in September that it was finalising its assessment of the situation in Xinjiang.
Leaked documents show that China’s negotiating position over an inspection of Xinjiang has not changed for years, amid criticism of a ‘mutually convenient stalemate’ between the two sides, the report said.