UN demands 'unfettered access' for visit to China's Uighur region
United Nations rights boss Michelle Bachelet called on China on Thursday to provide "unfettered access for an advance team" to prepare her proposed visit, saying it should include a probe into the situation of the Uighur minority. U.N. experts and activists say at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres in Xinjiang.
A team preparing for the possible visit to the tightly controlled Muslim-majority Chinese region of Xinjiang this year should be given "unfettered access", UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday.
In a speech in Geneva, Bachelet welcomed the invitation from China to tour the region but added: "We will continue to request unfettered access for an advance team in preparation for this proposed visit".
"We will seek to analyse in depth the human rights situation in China, including the situation of members of the Uighur minority," she said, addressing the UN Human Rights Council.
China has come under international criticism for its treatment of the Uighurs, with activists and witnesses saying it is trying to forcibly integrate the mostly Muslim ethnic group and strip them of their Islamic heritage.
The UN rights chief typically only undertakes national visits provided the host government offers guarantees on certain conditions, including unfettered access to key sites and the right to speak with activists.