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UN human rights chief gives up second term amid criticism over China trip | Michelle Bachelet

The UN human rights chief announced her decision to step down, citing ‘personal reasons’, amid weeks of speculation following her recent trip to China which drew heavy criticism from officials. Western activists and politicians.

Writing on Twitter, Michelle Bachelet, who assumed the post of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2018, said: “It’s time to go back to Chile and be with your family.

Bachelet’s announcement came as pressure mounted following her recent statement on the human rights situation in China, where she was on a six-day tour in a ‘closed loop’ system due Covid restrictions. But it’s not immediately clear if his decision not to seek reappointment has to do with his handling of the trip.

Today I informed @UN_HRC, opening my last session as High Commissioner. I will not seek a second term for personal reasons. It’s time to go back to Chile and be with family. I urge States to identify common ground to find solutions to our common human rights challenges.

— Michelle Bachelet (@mbachelet) June 13, 2022

Since Bachelet’s trip to China last month – particularly to the Uyghur minority region of Xinjiang, where rights organizations and some Western governments have alleged that China has committed “genocide” – Bachelet and his office received a deluge of criticism.

Activists and a number of Western governments, from Britain to the EU, have urged the former Chilean president and torture survivor to release a long-awaited report on China’s treatment of its Uyghur population in the Xinjiang.

Responding to calls, Bachelet said in a separate speech on Monday that his office was updating its official assessment of the situation in Xinjiang, and that it would be shared with the Chinese government for factual comments before publication. She did not say when the report would be released for the public to review.

In an apparent attempt to address criticism that she hadn’t done enough, Bachelet said that during her time in China she had “also raised concerns about the human rights situation of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, including widespread arbitrary detention and patterns of abuse, both in the VETC system and in other detention facilities.”

She added, “Furthermore, I raised human rights concerns in the Tibet and Hong Kong regions and discussed possible follow-up actions with my office.” She reported that the Chinese government had agreed to hold an “annual high-level human rights meeting” with her agency, but did not give further details of the plan.

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Bachelet’s speech on Monday touched on a variety of other human rights issues around the world, from Afghanistan to Turkey to Venezuela. She urged her audience to invest in addressing the conditions that cause the crises that lead to human suffering.

In particular, she expressed her concerns about the deterioration of women’s rights around the world. “Sexual and reproductive health and rights are essential to women’s well-being and development,” she said.


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Post expires at 7:11pm on Friday June 24th, 2022