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Bachelet presses China for U.N. access to Xinjiang's Uighurs

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Bachelet presses China for U.N. access to Xinjiang's Uighurs
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse   -   Copyright  DENIS BALIBOUSE(Reuters)
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GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday that she is seeking access to China to verify continuing reports of disappearances and arbitrary detentions, particularly in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region.

Stability in Xinjiang, at the centre of China’s belt and road initiative, can be helped by policies that show authorities’ respect for rights, Bachelet said in her annual report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

China has faced growing international opprobrium for what it calls re-education and training centres in the western region, but activists say they are mass detention camps holding 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims. Ahmad Shaheed, the U.N. investigator on religious freedom, said on Tuesday he has asked China to let him visit Xinjiang.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Tom Miles)

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