The UN human rights director has called for coordinated action to reverse the worst worldwide deterioration of human rights she has witnessed, citing China, Russia, and Ethiopia as examples.
The virtual session, which runs until July 13th, will include an anxiously awaited report by Bachelet on systemic racism, as well as draught resolutions on Myanmar, Belarus, and Ethiopia’s northern Tigray area.
Bachelet said she was profoundly worried by reports of “severe violations” in Tigray, which is ravaged by war and facing starvation, in her opening remarks.
“Extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, sexual abuse against children and adults,” she added, adding that she had “credible reports” that Eritrean forces were still operating in the region.
Other sections of Ethiopia, which held elections on Monday, saw “alarming incidences of lethal ethnic and intercommunal violence and displacement,” according to Bachelet.
Bachelet also expressed concern about the situation in northern Mozambique, which has been destroyed by recent fatal jihadist warfare, where food shortages is increasing and “nearly 800,000 people, including 364,000 children,” have been forced to evacuate their homes.
The UN human rights head also mentioned the “chilling effect” of Hong Kong’s new national security law. Following 2019’s massive democratic rallies in Hong Kong, the ordinance, which takes effect on the eve of 1 July 2020, is seen as the spear point of a comprehensive assault on Beijing’s opponents in the semi-autonomous city.
It has made a lot of dissent illegal, granted China jurisdiction over some cases, and given the authorities unprecedented investigative powers. “107 people have been arrested under the National Security Law, and 57 have been legally charged,” Bachelet said.
The UN human rights chief has been under diplomatic pressure to speak out against China’s tactics in the northwest, where the US accuses Beijing of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs. At least one million Uyghurs and other primarily Muslim minorities have been detained in camps, which Beijing strenuously denies.
On Tuesday, dozens of countries, led by Canada, are scheduled to present a unified statement to the UN Security Council, expressing alarm about the situation in Xinjiang and demanding that China provide Bachelet and other independent observers unrestricted access.
Bachelet also slammed recent Kremlin actions limiting the space for competing political viewpoints and access to the September elections. She drew attention to recent attempts to undermine the movement of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny. A Moscow court classified his organizations as “extreme” and barred them from working in the nation earlier this month, in a verdict Bachelet described as based on poorly stated claims of aiming to undermine the foundations of constitutional order.
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, has signed legislation prohibiting members, staff, and supporters of “extremist” groups from participating in parliamentary elections.