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UN: the threat to the environment is the most important human rights challenge

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United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, announced that environmental threats will pose the greatest challenge to human rights in the world. At the opening of the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, she also referred to the situation of the Uighurs in China and criticized the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

– The increasing threats to the environment will be the greatest challenge for human rights of our time – said the High Commissioner during the opening of the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Examples include the “extreme and murderous” floods in Germany and the fires in California that occurred this year.

‘Crises linked to environmental pollution, climate change and biodiversity are multiplying problems, exacerbating conflict, and exacerbating structural tensions and inequalities,’ said Bachelet. – We have to set the bar higher. Our future depends on it – she added.


The Uighur situation and criticism of the Taliban government

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Later in her speech, Bachelet regretted that the Chinese authorities were denying access to Xinjiang Province, where reports of violations of Uighur human rights have been received. From the beginning of her term in office, the High Commissioner has been demanding access to the region for a “full and independent assessment” of the human rights situation there.

The United States accuses China of holding over a million Uighurs in the work camps in Xinjiang. Authorities in Beijing say they are merely “vocational training centers”.

Lastly, the High Commissioner criticized the new Taliban government in Afghanistan, pointing out that it had no women and was mostly Pashtun, rather than taking into account the country’s complex ethnic makeup. Since taking power in Afghanistan, the Taliban has repeatedly stated that the new government will consist of representatives of all ethnic and tribal groups in Afghanistan.

The Uyghurs from Xinjiang, located in the northeastern region of China, are a Turkish-speaking Muslim minority of over 10 million people. International public opinion accuses China of repressing the Uighurs through, inter alia, subjecting them to forced “re-education” in camps. It has also been documented, inter alia, numerous cases of rape of Uyghur women, widespread surveillance and destruction of Uyghur cultural monuments.


Main photo source: SALVATORE DI NOLFI / PAP / EPA

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