UN High Commissioner Faces Money Laundering Charges After China Mission – The Organization for World Peace
A torrent of criticism fell on the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, for the official visit to China from May 23 to 28, 2022. The UN human rights chief has been accused of whitewashing and using Beijing propaganda language in her summative statement, after leading the mission to the Xinjiang region, where an estimated one million people have unlawfully confined in detention and re-education camps.
The UN human rights chief’s first trip to China since 2005 included meetings with representatives of various civil society organizations and senior officials, including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Due to the arrangement of a visit to the former Vocational Education and Training Center (VETC) and Kashgar Prison, the outcome, although raised high expectations, failed to respond to international crimes, according to Amnesty International.
The High Commissioner’s statement, diplomatically, encouraged “reviewing all counter-terrorism and deradicalization policies to ensure that they are in full compliance with international human rights standards.” In the aftermath of this announcement, the international community of scholars from Xinjiang and the Uyghur regions expressed their enthusiasm in the form of an open letter. They unanimously condemned Bachelet’s statements, stating that the previously proven facts about the genocidal nature of the atrocities cannot be euphemistically described as a deradicalization counterterrorism policy.
“Truly a disaster,” said Adrian Zenz, one of the most prominent Uyghur rights advocates, who was asked to assess Bachelet’s visit to major cities in Xinjiang and the statement that followed. The US-based researcher, who has defined China’s policy as one of the biggest human rights abuses of the 21st century, claimed that “Uyghurs feel deeply betrayed” by the main actor of the protection of fundamental freedoms.
Since the nature of the negotiation is defined in the juxtaposition of different points of view and the search for consensus, its essence and its power could have been attenuated. The tenor of the OHCHR visit was explicitly subordinated to the Chinese authorities, therefore, in Adrian Zenz’ view, accepting the invitation was a mistake in the first place. He claims that senior officials at international organizations are unable to provide in-depth analysis and that the echo of OHCHR’s inconsistent position has provided the Chinese government with ample leeway to misinform and manipulate Bachelet’s remarks.
In May 2022, just after the start of the OHCHR mission, a new cache of files and photos from the internment camps was leaked, exposing the abuses and inhuman practices of terrorizing detainees. The images, documents and spreadsheets illustrate the brutality of the methods undertaken, revealing the existence of shoot-to-kill orders and President Xi Jinping’s desire to increase the number of camps.
Since 2017, multiple human rights organizations have alarmed the international community due to the exponential number of detainees and disappearances among ethnic minorities. An estimated one million internees were held in more than a thousand extrajudicial internment centers, leading to the rise of charges regarding the Commission of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity against Minorities Muslims.
During the 50th session of the Human Rights Council on the development of human rights in the world, Michelle Bachelet announced that she would not seek a second term as United Nations High Commissioner. As a result, scholars have expressed concern over the long-delayed publication of his report on human rights abuses in China, hoping that the responsibility for its publication will not pass to his successor.
The demand for action is unmistakable and its absence may endanger more human beings victimized by China’s campaign. Therefore, completing the four-year-awaited report will be a priority for Michelle Bachelet’s ending term, said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.