US lawmakers Tuesday called on the UN human rights chief to release a report on Xinjiang, where Washington accuses China of perpetrating a genocide against minority Uyghur Muslims, before the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Publishing the report before the Games begin February 4 would "reaffirm the fact that no country is beyond scrutiny or above international law," said Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative James McGovern, the top Democrats leading the Congressional Executive Committee on China.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, the former Chilean president, has been asking Beijing for "meaningful and unhindered access" to Xinjiang for years, but no such visit has so far been made possible.
In mid-December, a spokesman for the high commissioner had indicated that a report could however be published in "a few weeks."
But human rights defenders are calling on the United Nations to get tough. Several rights organizations have accused China of having locked up at least a million Muslims in Xinjiang.
Beijing denies the figure and describes the camps as "vocational training centers" to support employment and fight religious extremism.
The United States, Australia, Canada and Britain announced they will not send official representation to the Olympics because of "the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights violations."
Nevertheless, athletes from these countries will participate in the competitions.
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