Bachelet Under Growing Pressure to Release Xinjiang Report

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet

Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, is coming under increasing pressure to release her long-awaited report into alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region of China.

Bachelet said late last year that the report was being finalized, but it is yet to be published. The former Chilean president has angered activists and western politicians with the continued delay, and she has been met with renewed calls for the report’s publication following her recent six-day visit to China.

In a press conference last week, Bachelet called for Chinese authorities to review their policies in the region, and promised to “follow up” on accusations of rights abuses. The official declined to offer a fixed date for the publication of her report.

Bachelet’s visit to China drew criticism from many quarters, with the need for diplomatic tip-toeing called into question. The US said that China had “restricted” and “manipulated” Bachelet’s visit, questioning the diplomatic value of the trip. The UK Foreign Office called on China to “immediately cease its appalling human rights violations in Xinjiang, and release those unjustly detained”.

“We look forward to the high commissioner’s long-awaited report on the situation in Xinjiang,” the Foreign Office statement continued, reflecting a growing air of frustration over the delays.

Activists have described the China visit as a “betrayal”, with some calling on Bachelet to remember her own experiences of torture in Chile under the Pinochet regime.

The European Union foreign affairs spokesperson said the bloc “encourages the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights to release the already announced, remote-monitoring report on the human rights situation in Xinjiang as a matter of priority”.

Chinese officials have repeatedly denied any rights abuses in Xinjiang, and accuse the US in leading the way in propaganda offensive against Beijing. Bachelet’s visit had been described as an opportunity “to observe and experience first-hand the real Xinjiang” in Chinese media.