Brussels, MINA – The United Nations Human Rights Office said there were ongoing discussions about a possible visit to China’s Xinjiang Province during the first half of this year.
The United Nations Human Rights Office spokesman Rupert Colville was asked to comment at a United Nations press conference on a report in the Hong Kong daily that such a visit might take place before the Beijing Winter Olympics starting on February 4, 2022.
“As we have stated many times, on our part it is important that such visits be meaningful, with unattended access to various civil society actors and locations, as well as high-level arrangements with government officials,” Colville said as quoted by Anadolu Agency on Monday.
“But clearly, it will not happen before the start of the Olympics. The parameters of the visit are still under discussion. There is no final decision or agreement,” he added.
Colville was also asked about a pending report from Bachelet’s office regarding the Xinjiang area where the Muslim Uighur minority lives.
“When we make this report, we often make very serious allegations, which relate to very serious elements of law, international law, humanitarian law, human rights, the law,” the official said.
“So, I don’t know exactly where we are. But I know we are in the final stages.”
Since she took office in 2018, the head of the United Nations Human Rights Office Michelle Bachelet has asked China to allow her agency access to the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.
At the Human Rights Council on September 13, he said Bachelet regretted the lack of progress on the matter.
According to UN data, at least one million Uighurs are held against their will in what Beijing calls “vocational training centers” and the international community defines them as “re-education camps”.
China did not provide information on how many camps there are in Xinjiang, how many people are there and how many of them have returned to life outside.
Meanwhile, the United Nations and other international organizations reiterate their calls for the camps to be opened for inspection, China has allowed some designated centers to be partially viewed by a small number of foreign diplomats and journalists.
Several countries accuse China of ethnic cleansing against the Uighurs in Xinjiang. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)