UN human rights chief cites ‘connection’ over China’s problems

GENEVA (AP) — The new U.N. human rights chief said Tuesday that his office has opened “channels of communication” with…

GENEVA (AP) — The new U.N. human rights chief said Tuesday that his office has opened “channels of communication” to help follow up on minority rights issues in China, including Muslim Uighurs and Tibetans. But this did not justify the hopes of activists for a more decisive message to Beijing.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, in an address much anticipated by human rights activists, did not specify how his office plans to proceed. a critical report on the western Xinjiang region of China published in August by his predecessor, Michelle Bachelet. That report mentioned possible “crimes against humanity” against Uyghurs and others in Xinjiang.

Türk noted that the UN human rights office had “documented serious problems” such as arbitrary detention and family separation in China and called for “concrete follow-up”. He also expressed concern about the impact of Hong Kong’s national security law, which has crushed its pro-democracy movement.

“With regard to China, we have opened channels of communication with a number of actors to monitor various human rights issues, including the protection of minorities such as Tibetans, Uyghurs and other groups,” Türk told Human Rights. The last session of the Council.

It was his first presentation of the office’s annual report since he took office in October. It covered a range of issues, such as pressures on women’s rights, discrimination, conflict and climate change, in a wide range of countries from Afghanistan to Zambia.

The human rights defender emphasized Russia’s war in Ukraine, the continuation of hostilities in Syria and instability in Mali and Burkina Faso. He also expressed concern about the crackdown on dissent, free speech and political activists in parts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Türk went on to refer to reports of “excessive use of force, racial profiling and discriminatory practices by police – most recently in Australia, France, Ireland and the UK”.

He said he was “deeply concerned about many trends” in Russia, such as the closing of offices of independent media and activist groups, as well as “constant” pro-war reporting in state media that “feeds stereotypes and incites hatred and violence.”

Advocacy groups particularly listened to Türk’s views on the rights situation in China.

Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, said last month that Turk should “publicly throw her weight behind” Bachelet’s report and include a “significant briefing on Xinjiang that reflects the seriousness of the findings” of UN rights at the council session. office.

“It will be an important message in many ways,” she told the ACANU Press Association. “I think the high commissioner will be judged on his willingness and courage to stand up to China and other superpowers.”

Ken Roth, former head of the human rights watchdog organization, said that Türk “didn’t say a single word of criticism against China.”

“He only offers quiet diplomacy — ‘we’ve opened channels of communication’ — as if he has any leverage other than public reporting/condemnation, which he refuses to do,” Roth tweeted.

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