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World in worst ‘cascade of human rights setbacks in our lifetimes’: UN

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The UN rights chief called Monday for “concerted action” to help recover from the worst global deterioration of rights seen in decades, highlighting situations in China, Russia and Ethiopia among others.

“To recover from the most wide-reaching and severe cascade of human rights setbacks in our lifetimes, we need a life-changing vision, and concerted action,” Michelle Bachelet told the opening of the UN Human Rights Council’s 47th session.

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Bachelet said she was “dismayed” by the Kremlin’s moves to undermine the right to voice critical opinions and participate in Russia’s forthcoming elections.

“I am dismayed by recent measures that further undermine people’s right to express critical views, and their ability to take part in the parliamentary elections scheduled in September,” she said, as she urged Russia to uphold civil and political rights and fall into line with international standards.

The UN human rights official, for the first time laying down a timeline, said that she hoped to agree with China on the terms of a visit to Xinjiang region this year to look into reports of serious violations against Muslim Uighurs.

Bachelet told the Human Rights Council that trials to be held in Hong Kong this week under the national security law, which has had a “chilling impact” on democratic space and media, would be an important test of the judiciary’s independence.

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