On Thursday, Amnesty International blasted the international community for its “woefully inadequate” reaction to a UN report last year that detailed a litany of atrocities in China’s Xinjiang region.
On the first anniversary of the report, Amnesty International expressed disappointment that the international community, including certain sections of the United Nations, had “shied away from the kind of resolute steps needed to advance justice, truth, and reparation for victims.”
The rights organization singled out UN rights director Volker Turk for failing to “clearly emphasise the urgent need for accountability for (China’s) alarming violations.”
His predecessor, Michelle Bachelet, under intense pressure from Beijing to conceal her report on the situation in Xinjiang, but she finally published it minutes before the end of her mandate on August 31, 2022.
It listed several human rights abuses committed against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and demanded that the international community pay “urgent attention” to the situation in the province.
Even while Beijing panned the study, it did emphasize “credible” charges of pervasive torture, arbitrary incarceration, and abuses of religious and reproductive rights.
And it was the first time the United Nations officially acknowledged charges that Beijing had arrested over a million Uyghurs and other Muslims, and maybe committed crimes against humanity by forcefully sterilising women.
Responsibility must be taken.
However, in October, member nations of the UN Human Rights Council decided narrowly to reject even debating its contents.
Human rights chief at the United Nations, Turk, has promised to “personally continue engaging with the (Chinese) authorities” about the abuses documented in the report.
However, Amnesty has been critical of his lack of public follow-up.
“We need national and international officials, including human rights officials like the high commissioner, to use all levers at their disposal… to seek meaningful change in China’s repressive policies,” said Sarah Brooks, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for China.
What they should be doing, she added, is “engaging in frank, evidence-based dialogue with the authorities about their human rights violations.”
Brooks also out that Chinese President Xi Jinping made an unexpected trip to Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, and advocated for more restrictions on “illegal religious activities” in the same week as the anniversary of the report’s publication.
She emphasized the urgent need for an impartial international inquiry of abuses in Xinjiang, saying, “The one year anniversary of the (UN) report must be a call to action.”
“Families of those who have been arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, or mistreated want and deserve answers and accountability, not delays and compromises.”