IANS

Human rights groups criticised the UN for failing to take concrete action against China for its repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, saying the international body has done little since releasing a damning report a year ago stating that Chinese may have committed crimes against humanity against the mostly Muslim group, the media reported.

The report issued on August 31, 2022, by former UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Michelle Bachelet highlighted "serious human rights violations" in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region amid what Beijing has described as steps to counter terrorism and religious extremism, the RFA reported.

The report made 13 recommendations to the Chinese government, including promptly releasing those detained arbitrarily in camps, prisons or other facilities, the RFA reported.

But the current UN human rights czar, Volker Turk, "hasn't really been pursuing these recommendations as he has repeatedly promised", said Maya Wang, associate director in the Asia division at Human Rights Watch, or HRW.

Turk has said he would personally engage with Chinese authorities and has acknowledged the need for concrete follow-up on the report's conclusions, but he has not yet briefed the U.N. Human Rights Council on the report or on his office's monitoring of the situation in Xinjiang, HRW said in a statement Thursday, RFA reported.

China's clout at the United Nations makes taking action difficult, Wang acknowledged.

"It's not due to a lack of interest or commitment, but more because, realistically, the Chinese government is a really big player at the UN and has over the last years, become increasingly powerful," she said. 

"There are just realistic difficulties in holding a very powerful government accountable." 

Wang said many other governments have not prioritised holding the Chinese government to account for its crimes because of their heavy trade and business ties with the country, RFA reported.

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