GENEVA - A top independent rights expert reporting to the Human Rights Council called on China on Wednesday to provide information on the whereabouts of imprisoned Uyghur doctor Gulshan Abbas.

Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, said in her appeal for information that in the nearly six years since her detention, Dr. Abbas’s family members “still do not have information on where she is being imprisoned, the evidence used to convict her, or most worryingly of all, her health condition”.

Ms. Lawlor, who is an independent expert and not a UN staff member appealed to the Chinese authorities to comply with its international human rights obligations and at least furnish Dr. Abbas’ family with this information.

She said she was appalled by the continued imprisonment of Dr. Abbas in “apparent retaliation for her sister’s criticism of the Chinese authorities’ treatment of Uyghurs”.

The expert noted that the former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, highlighted in her 2022 report on human rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, an alleged pattern of “intimidations, threats and reprisals” against family members of Uyghurs in exile, who had engaged in advocacy in relation to the region.

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on specific country situations or thematic issues worldwide.

They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.