UN Human Rights Chief Will Not Run for Second Term After Criticism

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Michelle Bachelet is not running for a second term as United Nations human rights chief. The Chilean said at the opening of a meeting on Monday that it would be the last she would chair as her term ends in August.


Bachelet was criticized last month after a six-day visit to China, where she spoke with President Xi Jinping, among others. Human rights organizations were outraged that she had not dared to publicly criticize the situation in the country.

In this way, the trip would have been just a propaganda opportunity for China. In fact, Bachelet said that during her meetings she had the opportunity to speak “candidly” with the Chinese about the human rights situation in the country.

She visited, among other places, the Xinjiang region, where, according to observers and western countries, the Uyghur Muslim minority is being oppressed. Human rights groups accuse Beijing of detaining more than a million Uyghurs and other Muslims, imposing forced labour and forcibly sterilizing women. Bachelet said he was able to hold talks with those involved without Chinese interference.

Bachelet, 70, was Chile’s first female president. She has been the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2018. The meeting session that started on Monday will last four weeks. Bachelet indicated at the opening that she wants to adjust the assessment of the situation in Xinjiang, following her trip to the region.

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