Ahead of the planned visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to China, which is expected to take place in May 2022, 60 international non-governmental organizations including the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) expressed their deep concern about the lack of transparency regarding the visit.
The organizations also criticize the “lack of coherence” in the High Commissioner’s approach to addressing the human rights crisis in China, which poses a threat to the credibility of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as a whole. The office has not yet released a report on the situation in East Turkestan, which was apparently already completed in September 2021.
The letter also lists a number of criteria that are required for an independent and effective visit by the High Commissioner, including a demand for the High Commissioner to also visit Tibet. The persistent silence of the High Commissioner on the situation on the “roof of the world” is also criticized. Since taking office in 2018, Bachelet has not once commented on the poor human rights situation in Tibet, unlike her predecessors in office.
“Michelle Bachelet should urgently travel to Tibet as part of her visit to China, because it has been 24 years since a UN High Commissioner was there. Like the Uyghur region of East Turkestan (Xinjiang), Tibet is subject to deeply discriminatory policies and totalitarian control, which is particularly visible in the religious and cultural spheres. After all, for some time Tibet has served the Chinese authorities as a ‘test laboratory’ for the unrestrained repression that we are witnessing in Xinjiang today,” said the Head of ICT’s UN Advocacy Team Kai Müller.
Furthermore, the organizations agree with the demands formulated by 50 UN human rights experts in June 2020, including “firm measures to protect fundamental freedoms in China” and the introduction by the UN Human Rights Council of “mechanisms for close monitoring, analysis and annual reporting of the human rights situation in China”.