30/05/22

Hundreds of attorneys are in jail just for defending human rights cases. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights was asked to visit at least three of them. She didn’t.

As the visit of the United Nations Hight Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, was heading to its conclusion, human rights activists in China criticized her for another missed opportunity. As far as it is known, she did not investigate the consequences of the 709 case, the July 8, 2015 crackdown on human rights lawyers. More than two hundred of them ended up in jail.

Surely, jailing and terrorizing lawyers whose sole crime was defending the human rights of their clients looks like the typical violation a United Nations Human Rights chief should care about. But does she?

On May 25, the China Human Rights Layers Group sent a letter to Ms. Bachelet. Bitter Winter publishes an English translation of the text. As far as we know, there has been no answer—and certainly no visit of the three prominent jailed lawyers mentioned in the letter.

“Dear Ms. Michelle Bachelet:

We are a group of human rights lawyers from China, and we are glad to hear that you are visiting China. First of all, we would like to welcome you! As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, you have been very concerned about human rights in China for many years, which is also the purpose of your visit to China, and we are deeply grateful!

We are one of the most knowledgeable groups about the human rights situation in China, and we would like to implore you to take some time out of your busy schedule to visit these three 709 lawyers who are still in detention.

1. Li Yuhan, a Chinese human rights lawyer. She has represented many human rights cases and is one of the defense lawyers in the 709 case.

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https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/28/hr-organisations-slam-un-right-chief-over-china-visit

https://ishr.ch/latest-updates/un-rights-chief-concludes-failed-visit-to-china-misses-historic-opportunity/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/28/un-urges-china-to-review-counter-terrorism-policies-after-official-visit

https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/arrests-of-lawyers-activists-journalists-under-national-security-law-in-hong-kong-deeply-worrying-un-rights-chief20220528223246/