NEW DELHI: A UN team is in China ahead of a visit to Xinjiang to prepare for the long-awaited inspection by the UN human rights commissioner, which is set to take place next month.
According to the South China Morning Post, the delegation was quarantined in Guangzhou before travelling to Xinjiang. According to Liz Throssell, UN human rights spokesman, the five-member team was invited by the Chinese government.
Since 2018, the UN Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (OHRC) has been negotiating with the Chinese government for unrestricted access to Xinjiang and the freedom to interview civil society organisations without oversight.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, announced in March that the OHRC had secured an agreement with the Chinese government to visit in May.
In the northwestern region of Xinjiang, China has been accused of perpetrating crimes against humanity and potentially genocide against the Uyghur population and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups.
Human rights organisations claim China has arrested over one million Uyghurs against their will in a vast network of "re-education centres" and sentenced hundreds of thousands to prison terms in recent years.
There is also evidence that Uyghurs are being compelled to work and that women are being sterilised forcibly. Former inmates have also claimed to have been tortured and sexually assaulted in the camps. Several countries have accused China of genocide in Xinjiang, including the United States. (Agencies)