China has agreed to allow a UN visit to the Xinjiang region, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce that we have recently reached an agreement with the Government of China for a visit," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said at the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
China has for years faced accusations of subjecting ethnic Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang to abuses.
Bachelet said her office and the Chinese government had “initiated concrete preparations for a visit that is foreseen to take place in May of this year" to the landlocked region in northwest China.
She said preparations would have to take into account COVID-19 regulations.
The government in Beijing has accepted the visit of an advanced team from the Human Rights office to prepare her visit to China and that it will depart in April.
“There was an agreement on the parameters that respect our methodology. And that includes unfettered access to a broad range of actors, including civil society,” UN rights office spokesperson Liz Throssell said at a UN press conference.
According to the UN data, at least 1 million Uyghurs are kept against their will in places Beijing calls "vocational training centers" and the international community defines as "re-education camps."
While the UN and other international organizations reiterated their calls for the camps to be opened for inspection, China has allowed a few of its designated centers to be partially viewed by a small number of foreign diplomats and journalists.
Several countries have accused China of ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Beijing has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the allegations as "lies and (a) political virus."
Source: Anadolu Agency