By Emma Farge
GENEVA (Reuters) – Western countries face a dilemma with the opening of the UN Human Rights Council on Monday: confront China over human rights violations in its Xinjiang region and risk failing or missing the greatest opportunity to accountability in years.
An August 31 UN human rights office report revealed that the “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of Uighurs and other Muslims in China may constitute a crime against humanity. China vehemently denies any abuse.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, whose office was responsible for releasing the report, has completed her term.
His successor, the Austrian Volker Turk, is not yet in Geneva and there is no formal follow-up action on the council’s busy agenda, which includes the crises in Ukraine and Ethiopia. This means that any action on China may have to be initiated by one of the 47 nations that make up the council charged with promoting and protecting human rights globally.
Western diplomats said a group of democracies were considering a number of options, including a resolution on China for the first time in the council’s 16-year history — a move that could include an investigation mechanism.
Source: CNN Brasil