The UN human rights office sees evidence of crimes against humanity in the Chinese region of Xinjiang. That emerges from an explosive report released by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on Wednesday evening just before midnight - ten minutes before the end of her term in office.
"The extent of the arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of the Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim groups (...) could constitute international crimes, particularly crimes against humanity," it said. People were denied fundamental rights from 2017 to 2019 and possibly beyond.
According to human rights organizations and refugee Uyghurs, hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and members of other minorities have been sent to re-education camps. Many are said to have been sent to other provinces for forced labor. China rejects the allegations and speaks of lies.
Your office said China had responded to the demands. She also traveled to Xinjiang, but towards the end of the visit she refrained from criticizing Beijing's actions in the region. This brought criticism to Bachelet, including from the federal government. There was no clarification of the accusation of serious human rights violations there, it said in Berlin.
Bachelet was under immense pressure, as she reported last week. While many government officials have been waiting for publication with growing impatience, she has also received a letter from around 40 governments urging her not to publish. She did not name individual countries.
Bachelet has been in office since 2018. She did not run for a second term. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has not yet named a successor.