‘Squandered’: UN Hasn’t Held China Accountable For Uyghur Genocide, Former US Ambassador Says

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FILE PHOTO: The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing, China

‘Squandered’: UN Hasn’t Held China Accountable For Uyghur Genocide, Former US Ambassador Says

Micaela Burrow on August 31, 2022

The United Nations’ human rights chief, whose tenure ended Wednesday, failed to hold China accountable for the genocide it is perpetrating against the minority Uyghur ethnic group, former Ambassador Andrew Bremberg told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

A long-awaited report detailing results of the UN’s investigation into China’s alleged human rights abuses, released Wednesday, caps Michelle Bachelet’s tenure as UN high commissioner for human rights. Throughout her time in office, Bachelete has attempted to smooth over allegations of grave human rights abuses, including forced labor, involuntary sterilization, torture and indoctrination, Bremberg, who formerly served as the U.S.’ Representative to the UN and now heads the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, told the DCNF.

“Bachelet’s tenure has been a failure when it comes to China,” Bremberg said. “She allowed herself to be played by the regime and subsequently has set back the cause of human rights in China.”

The report does not mention the word “genocide” and determines only that China “may” have committed the lesser offense of crimes against humanity for “arbitrary and discriminatory detention.” The U.S. and other Western powers, as well as numerous human rights groups, have all condemned China’s actions as genocide.

Bachelet announced her intention to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the alleged human rights abuses taking place in China’s Xinjiang province in 2021. While she initially claimed the investigating team required unfettered access to the region and the facilities where abuses occurred, she settled for a state-guided tour and interviews with 40 victims, according to the report.

Bachelet “squandered” her May visit to China, the first such by any UN human rights commissioner in 17 years, Bremberg told the DCNF. “Instead of demanding justice, [Bachelet] announced that the visit would not be an investigation and repeated Chinese propaganda on counterterrorism and deradicalization that the CCP has used to justify its atrocities,” he added.

Bachelet referred to internment camps as “educational and vocational training centers” during the trip, The New York Times reported. The UN report echoes that language.

The visit constituted an “abject failure to hold the Chinese government accountable for its crimes,” said Bremberg.

Once the office completed the report and delivered it to China for a customary review, Bachelet repeatedly postponed publication while offering little explanation, according to the NYT.

At the same time, China mounted a covert pressure campaign to suppress the report. Bachelet denied in an interview with Deutsche Welle that any pressure caused her to change what was written or published in the report.

Bachelet announced on June 13 she would not seek a second term following criticism from 230 rights groups for “whitewashing” Chinese atrocities. She lauded the communist country’s “important legislative and judicial reforms” but failed to directly address the host of crimes, well documented by other sources, committed against the Uyghurs and other minority ethnic and religious groups, the organizations alleged.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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