German Foreign Ministry: Disappointment after Bachelet's trip to China

Status: 05/30/2022 8:37 PM

The German Foreign Ministry has expressed its disappointment after the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Bachelet to China. The trip “did not live up to expectations” to clear allegations of human rights abuses.

The German Foreign Ministry criticized the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet to China. A statement said Foreign Minister Annalena Barbock last week asked her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi “to conduct a transparent investigation into the serious allegations of the most serious human rights violations” in Xinjiang province. “The visit of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet to China – which we have long defended – did not live up to this expectation,” the ministry said.

Because of “Chinese restrictions” during Bachelet’s trip, “it was not possible to have free and unimpeded access to people and places.” This ruled out an independent assessment of the situation at the site. Human rights “are not an internal matter of states, and national borders are not fences beyond which human rights no longer apply,” according to the Federal Foreign Ministry. This also applies to China.

Criticisms even before the flight

Bachelet made a multi-day visit to China last week, including in Xinjiang. Critics had warned before the trip that it would not be granted the necessary access to fully assess the situation in Xinjiang. There is a danger that China will use the visit to downplay the status of the Muslim Uyghur minority in the region. The US State Department described the visit as a mistake. Activists accused the UN commissioner of carrying out propaganda for the Chinese government.

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For years, the Communist leadership in Beijing has been accused of systematic suppression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang. According to human rights organizations, more than a million people are held in camps there. The United States accuses China of committing “genocide” against the Uyghurs.

Torture evidence and shooting orders

Ahead of Bachelet’s visit to the country, an international media consortium published more evidence of the mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Photos, speeches, and instructions issued by the authorities proved, among other things, torture and the presence of shoot-to-kill orders.

The German Foreign Ministry has now said that it expects Bachelet to publish its report on the human rights situation in Xinjiang “as soon as possible.” The report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation on the ground has long been withheld.

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