Lawmakers from 20 countries are waiting anxiously for the UN’s human rights office to release their report on the human rights violations in Xinjiang before the Winter Olympics kicks off on February 4.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) wrote a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on January 27, requesting that her office publish their report prior to the beginning of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
“As the world’s attention turns towards Beijing for the start of the Winter Olympics, it is of paramount importance that the Chinese government is held to account for its actions in the XUAR (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region),” the letter reads. “We urge you to publish the findings of the report, announced as in its final stages in September 2021, before the beginning of the Games. Doing so would send a strong signal that no country is beyond scrutiny or above international law.”
Back in September 2021, Bachelet’s office claimed it was “finalizing” its assessment of the Xinjiang situation in the coming weeks. However, it is still yet to release its official report to the public.
Currently, over 1 million Uyghurs and other majority Muslim ethnic minorities are being held in Xinjiang’s internment camps where they are forced to undergo sterilization, abortions, rape, torture, forced labor, and the removal of children from their families.
While the Chinese government continues to commit atrocious human rights violations against the Uyghurs, the Beijing Winter Olympic Games are about to begin.
“The spectacle of the Olympics cannot cover up genocide,” said Omer Kanat, executive director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project. “It’s hard to understand why anyone feels it’s even possible to celebrate international friendship and ‘Olympic values’ in Beijing this year.”
The co-chairs of IPAC, Reinhard Bütikofer and Senator James Paterson, also vocalized their disapproval of the Olympics moving forward without the UN’s report being released yet.
“As the world’s attention turns to Beijing for the Games, we cannot allow the Chinese government to ‘sports-wash’ over the atrocities taking place in the Xinjiang Region,” said Bütikofer. “No country, no matter how large or important, is beyond scrutiny or above international law. The time has come for the Commissioner to publish its report and begin to establish what is truly happening in the Xinjiang Region.”
Senator Paterson said, “It has been more than 18 months since 50 UN experts warned the UN Human Rights Council of atrocities taking place in the Uyghur Region, and up to today still no investigation has been made. The body exists to uphold human rights and yet it is failing to act on the most damning allegations of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. We call on the Commissioner to publish her report without further delay.”
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