The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet announced today that she will not be seeking a second term when her current one ends in August, but said that her office intends to finalise a long-awaited report on the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang region before her departure.
Bachelet was heavily criticised during her recent mission to China for failing to condemn crimes against humanity and other grave human rights violations by the Chinese authorities. Addressing the UN Human Rights Council today, Bachelet said the report was currently being updated and would be shared with Chinese authorities for comments.
“Michelle Bachelet now has just two-and-a-half months to address her failures on China. Her refusal to call out the Chinese government’s crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and their dismal human rights record throughout the country, has betrayed countless victims and survivors. Without immediate action, Michelle Bachelet’s failure to stand up to political pressure from China will be a major part of her legacy,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard.
“We call on Michelle Bachelet to finish her term by acting with the courage and principles that the office of High Commissioner demands. The long-overdue report on Xinjiang must be released as soon as possible – the path to justice begins with exposing the true depth and scale of the abuses taking place. We reiterate our call for Michelle Bachelet to condemn the Chinese government’s ongoing human rights violations in Xinjiang and elsewhere, paving the way for accountability, truth and justice.
“We urge UN Secretary-General António Guterres to ensure that the appointment of the next High Commissioner is made in an open and transparent manner, based on clear criteria. This important post requires a mandate holder who is principled and independent, and who has a proven record of deep commitment to human rights.”
Michelle Bachelet announced her departure during the presentation of her annual report to the UN Human Rights Council.