The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Michelle Bachelet, announced this Monday that she will not run for a second term after 31 August.
“As my term comes to an end, this 50th session of the Council will be the last I speak,” said the 70-year-old former Chilean president at the opening session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. , which starts today in Geneva, Switzerland.
OHCHR spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani, quoted by the Associated Press news agency, confirmed that Bachelet will not seek a second four-year term when the current one ends on 31 August.
Bachelet’s current term has recently been overshadowed by criticism of her response to China’s treatment of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
In early June, more than 230 human rights organizations, including Portuguese, demanded Bachelet’s resignation, accusing her of “laundering atrocities” during her recent visit to China.
For activists, during the trip Michelle Bachelet legitimized “Beijing’s attempt to cover up its crimes using the Chinese government’s false ‘counterterrorism’ framework and repeatedly referring to internment camps by the Chinese government’s designation: ‘Education Centers’ and Professional Training’ (CETP)”.
Western governments and human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accuse China of detaining more than a million Uighurs and members of other Muslim minorities in re-education camps.
The activists also asked the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, not to propose the renewal of Bachelet’s mandate.
The executive director of HRW said that part of the blame for Bachelet’s failed visit to China lies with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, for having previously accepted the terms imposed by Beijing for the visit of the high commissioner, when he was in the Chinese capital. on the occasion of the opening of the Winter Olympic Games.
Kenneth Roth told a press conference that Bachelet’s May 23-28 trip to China “could not have been better for the Chinese government, which is striving to hide the mass arrests and abuses in Xinjiang”, territory autonomous region inhabited by several ethnic minorities, namely the Uighurs.
The executive director of HRW said that part of the blame for Bachelet’s failed visit to China lies with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, for having previously accepted the terms imposed by Beijing for the visit of the High Commissioner, when he was in the Chinese capital for occasion of the opening of the Winter Olympic Games.
Guterres, according to Roth, is “weaker” when it comes to criticizing influential states in relation to his predecessors in office, such as the Ghanaian Kofi Annan (who died in 2018) and the South Korean Ban Ki-moon.