HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW OUTCOMES OF BELIZE, CHAD , AND CHINA
20 March 2014
The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Belize, Chad and China. The President noted that out of 103 recommendations received by Belize, 63 had been accepted, Belize had provided further clarification on two, and it had not accepted the rest; out of 174 recommendations made to Chad, 119 had been accepted and the rest had been rejected; and out of 252 recommendations made to China, it had accepted 204 and taken note of the remainder.
Ayesha Borland, Counsellor at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Belize, said Belize viewed human rights as fundamental to its development, its democracy and its very way of life and for those reasons approached the review very seriously. Belize had accepted 65 of the 103 recommendations, of which 26 were regarded as already being implemented, in the areas of education, health care and social protection. While it found sympathy with the spirit in which they were made, Belize reserved its position on 38 recommendations, including those concerning a standing invitation to Special Procedures, the death penalty, the minimum age of marriage, and the decriminalization of same-sex activities. Belize faced frustrating capacity constraints that inhibited its best intentions in areas such as timely reporting to treaty bodies.
In the discussion on Belize, speakers welcomed the Government’s efforts towards the increased protection of children through legislative reforms, poverty reduction, and access and quality of education, and noted efforts made in the promotion and protection of human rights despite the economic difficulties. The Government of Belize was urged to consider raising the age of criminal responsibility in line with internationally accepted standards, and to continue to work on the implementation of policy for gender equality. Belize’s commitment in the Universal Periodic Review mechanism could be seen through the acceptance of the majority of recommendations received.
Speaking in the discussion on Belize were the United Nations Children’s Fund, Venezuela, Algeria and Cuba.
Canadian HIV/AID Legal Network, Minority Rights Group, and Action Canada for Population and Development also took the floor.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Belize.
Ibrahim Koulamallah, Minister for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Chad, reiterated his country’s commitment to implement the recommendations it had accepted, and called on active cooperation and support from the United Nations to build the capacity of its national human rights institutions. Chad had accepted recommendations that encouraged measures to strengthen its legal and institutional frameworks and had rejected recommendations that were already being implemented. Gender equality was a priority for the Government of Chad. To ensure respect of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Government had adopted multi-sectorial policies and legal dispositions, and had ensured that no child soldiers were recruited in the armed forces. The law in Chad provided a framework for the protection of the rights of detainees, including the right to legal remedy in case of abuses against them.
Delegations welcomed Chad’s constructive participation in the review and noted its efforts made towards improving living standards and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Speakers urged the Government to continue its efforts to protect the most vulnerable people, providing health services and education, and to address persistent challenges such as the persistence of poverty and violence against women. Delegations expressed appreciation for Chad’s commitment to protect and promote human rights, and appealed to the international community to continue to support Chad’s efforts.
Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gabon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger participated in the discussion.
The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Amnesty International, Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, and Tchad agir pour l’environment.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Chad.
Wu Hailong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that China accorded great importance to the recommendations made and would accept any recommendation that was suitable to China’s conditions. China had taken measures to advance human rights in a number of areas, including economic, social and cultural rights, the right to development, poverty alleviation, job creation, migrant workers, and the right to education. Concerning the internet and freedom of expression, China had the greatest number of internet users in the world. Religious communities enjoyed solidarity and stability and freedom of religious belief was guaranteed, and a system of regional ethnic autonomy was in place. Some recommendations had not been accepted, mainly because they were not practicable and were at odds with realities in China, such as those regarding the death penalty, while others, such as those on extrajudicial detention, failed to reflect the facts.
During the discussion speakers noted China’s success at implementing the recommendations made during the previous cycles; progress had been made in numerous areas, including employment, freedom of religion, among others. The important role of China in realizing the right to development globally, including through its robust efforts in the areas of South-South and triangular cooperation, were commended. While welcoming China’s acceptance of recommendations related to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, other speakers urged China to ratify important conventions and to end all forms of arbitrary detention. Delegations encouraged China to continue taking all measures to protect human rights and combat all forms of discrimination. Speakers also expressed concerns about policies vis-à-vis ethnic minorities, as well as by the detention of human rights activists and lawyers.
Speaking in the discussion were Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, Germany, India, Iran, Ireland, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, and Sudan.
The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: International Service for Human Rights, World Organization against Torture, COC Nederland, China Disabled Person’s Federation, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Human Rights Watch, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Action Canada for Population and Development, and Amnesty International.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of China.
The Human Rights Council will resume its work on Friday 21 March, at 10 a.m., when it will consider the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Monaco, Congo and Malta.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Belize
The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Belize (A/HRC/25/13)
AYESHA BORLAND, Counsellor at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Belize, said Belize viewed human rights as fundamental to its development, its democracy and its very way of life and for those reasons approached the Universal Periodic Review very seriously, with frankness and a sense of commitment. The Review not only took place in the Council chamber but also at the national level, from the preparation of the report to consideration of how to implement the recommendations. Belize at every stage involved a wide cross-section of stakeholders from Government to civil society to citizens. Belize accepted 65 of the 103 recommendations, of which 26 were regarded as already being implemented. Since its Review in October 2013 the Government had decided to expand access to education, health care and strengthening of the social protection system by concrete actions, including enlarging the scope of the National Health Insurance scheme to include northern Belize, expanding educational subsidies, and increasing the beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer and food pantry programmes. Belize had decided to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on Enforced Disappearances, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
Belize reserved its position on 38 recommendations: while it found sympathy with the spirit in which they were made, they required further consultations at the national level. Ms. Borland explained that while Belize could not support recommendations relating to extending a standing invitation to Special Procedure mandate holders it would consider such invitations on a case-by-case basis, as in the visit last December by the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons. Belize could not accept the recommendation to abolish the death penalty as it was a valid part of its laws, but noted it had not been exercised for almost 30 years. Similarly Belize could not support the recommendation relating to the minimum age of marriage, which had been increased to 16 years with parental consent, because with due regard to cultural factors, to raise the age even further would require extensive national consultations. Other reasons for not supporting recommendations included financial implications, such as those regarding the establishment of new institutions; being sub judice, such as those on decriminalization of same-sex activities; or complex implementation measures, such as those regarding constitutional amendments. At the national level the Universal Periodic Review process had served as a catalyst for national stocktaking and self-assessment. The frustrating capacity constraints Belize faced as a small State inhibited its best intentions in areas such as timely reporting to treaty bodies. The assistance of the international community and United Nations agencies in building capacity and mainstreaming human rights education was welcomed.
United Nations Children’s Fund said that among the many advances made in attaining children’s rights, it particularly welcomed the Government’s efforts towards increasing the protection of children through legislative reforms. The Government of Belize was urged to consider raising the age of criminal responsibility in line with internationally accepted standards.
Venezuela welcomed the spirit of openness and constructive dialogue of the Government of Belize. It paid tribute to efforts made in the promotion and protection of human rights, despite the economic difficulties, and drew attention to the will of the Government to attain goals that had been set, and recommended the adoption of the report.
Algeria welcomed the commitment of Belize to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, which could be seen through the acceptance of the majority of the recommendations received. In particular, Algeria welcomed its recommendation’s acceptance on the continuation of efforts in the implementation of the policy for gender equality.
Cuba said that during the Review, it had occasion to praise efforts made by Belize to achieve gender equality. Attention had also been drawn to efforts made to reduce poverty. Cuba drew attention to the implementation of the education sector strategy in 2012 and the real progress made in access and quality of teaching, despite remaining challenges.
Canadian HIV/AID Legal Network, speaking in a joint statement, congratulated Belize for consulting with its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population before preparing its report. Contrary to its view on recommendation 97.7, Belize was not acting in conformity with its international commitments. Would the Government follow the example of other States and substantively address the social disparities affecting its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens?
Minority Rights Group, in a joint statement, hoped that Belize would withdraw its appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice challenging the findings of Belize’s highest court that the Maya were indigenous to southern Belize, but regretted that the Government was not able to accept the recommendations regarding the adoption of ILO Convention 169 and the obtaining of the free, prior, and informed consent of the Mayan communities.
Action Canada for Population and Development, in a joint statement, appreciated the willingness of the Government to combat stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS but regretted that no activities had been carried out since the previous cycle concerning the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and urged the Government to implement laws and policies that would eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
AYESHA BORLAND, Counsellor at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Belize, said that dialogues on human rights in Belize would continue between sessions of the Universal Periodic Review. She reiterated her country’s commitment to address the most serious human rights issues and welcomed the report to be adopted by the working group.
The Human Rights Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Belize.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Chad
The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Chad (A/HRC/25/14)
IBRAHIM KOULAMALLAH, Minister for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Chad, reiterated his country’s commitment to implement the recommendations it had accepted, and called on active cooperation and support from the United Nations to build the capacity of Chad’s national human rights institutions. Out of the 174 recommendations made to Chad, 119 had been accepted and 55 rejected. Chad had accepted recommendations that encouraged measures to strengthen its legal and institutional frameworks and had rejected recommendations that were already being implemented. Chad was committed to ratify a certain number of international human rights instruments, including the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. The law of Chad ensured that men and women enjoyed the same rights. Gender equality was a priority for the Government of Chad, and measures would continue to be taken to enhance the status of women and their participation to public life. Chad was taking measures to address harmful traditional practices, including female genital mutilation and corporal punishment, through awareness raising campaigns and criminal code reforms.
To ensure respect of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Government had adopted multi-sectorial policies and legal dispositions, and had created focal points at the local level, working in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund. Chad had ensured that no child soldiers were recruited in the armed forces. The law in Chad provided a framework for the protection of the rights of detainees, including the right to legal remedy in case of abuses against them. New detention facilities were built in accordance with international standards. The draft penal code would take concerns regarding the prohibition of torture into consideration. Chad had undertaken measures to effectively combat human trafficking, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and would adopt a specific law to harmonize its legal dispositions on this issue. Recommendations made by the commission of inquiry on the 2008 events had been implemented. Chad was ensuring that all allegations of torture and ill-treatment by authorities were investigated. Chad was committed to protect displaced persons living in the country, and to ensure their access to public services. Contrary to certain allegations, Chad did not intend to amend its law on the press, which did not infringe on freedom of expression but rather protected journalists. Journalists and human rights defenders freely enjoyed their right to freedom of expression, and only incitement to hatred was prohibited.
Algeria welcomed the efforts that Chad had made in terms of strengthening legislation and institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, as evidenced by the ratification of a number of human rights instruments. Algeria noted with satisfaction the efforts to support the justice reform, the national action plan for children associated with armed groups and the national development plan.
Benin encouraged Chad to continue its efforts and achievements in the promotion of human rights, particularly in the areas of education, health, rights of women and child protection. Chad should step up the efforts to ratify international instruments to which it was still not a party, particularly the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the abolition of the death penalty.
Botswana was encouraged by the progress made to end the recruitment of children and to demobilize child soldiers and reintegrate them into society. Botswana commended the approval of the national gender policy and the strategy to combat gender-based violence. This was a clear testimony to the commitment of Chad to the promotion of women’s and children’s rights.
Burkina Faso noted with satisfaction numerous measures to promote human rights, particularly those for the benefit of vulnerable groups, such as efforts to stop the recruitment of children and ensure their reintegration. Burkina Faso also noted the national legislation on gender equality and the efforts to combat gender-based violence and urged Chad to implement the accepted recommendations in the spirit of cooperation.
China welcomed Chad’s constructive participation in the review and thanked Chad for accepting its recommendations. Noting the efforts made towards improving living standards and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, China urged the Government to actively implement a development strategy and called on the international community to support these efforts.
Côte d’Ivoire thanked Chad for the attention given to the recommendations and responses provided during this cycle, and urged the Government to continue its efforts to protect the most vulnerable people. Côte d’Ivoire reiterated its appeal to the international community to continue to support Chad’s efforts.
Cuba drew attention to the fact that Chad had implemented previous recommendations and noted the many efforts undertaken by the Government to promote development and reduce inequality. Cuba urged Chad to continue to implement programmes and measures in order to continue to face the challenges, including persistent poverty and violence against women, as well as offering health services and education.
Djibouti noted with satisfaction Chad’s acceptance of the most recommendations made during the review. Djibouti appreciated Chad’s commitment to protect and promote human rights, recommended the adoption of the report, and wished Chad success in the implementation of the recommendations accepted.
Eritrea welcomed Chad’s efforts to protect and promote human rights despite the enormous challenges. Eritrea welcomed that Chad had accepted a large number of recommendations and called for the adoption of the report. Eritrea was ready to cooperate with Chad for the implementation of the recommendations.
Gabon welcomed that Chad had ratified numerous international human rights instruments and had accepted recommendations to bring its national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles. Gabon encouraged Chad to continue its efforts to strengthen the protection of economic, social and cultural rights as well as women’s and children’s rights.
Libya welcomed progress made by Chad in the field of human rights, including the ratification of international human rights instruments and their transposition into domestic law. Despites the challenges it faced, and with the support of the international community, Chad would manage to succeed in the area of human rights.
Mali welcomed the open collaboration of Chad with all actors, including international human rights mechanisms. Mali encouraged Chad to continue the improvement of the human rights protection in the country. Mali called for the adoption of the report of Chad.
Mauritania hailed the cooperation of Chad with all human rights mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review, and appreciated the responsiveness of the Government to the recommendations it had received. Chad should continue with its efforts to overcome all obstacles to further the promotion and protection of human rights. Mauritania was confident that Chad had the will to overcome the obstacles and achieve the goals.
Morocco said that the high-level of interaction of Chad with the Universal Periodic Review was evidence of the rule of law in this country. Morocco congratulated Chad for progress made in fighting poverty and improving health, on the reform of the justice sector which provided for the increase of the number of courts, and on the establishment of the Bar Association and the building of courtrooms.
Niger said that Chad had made great progress in the ratification of international human rights instruments and had invested great efforts to integrate their provisions into domestic law. The recommendations received in the Universal Periodic Review would assist Chad to direct and intensify measures to guarantee the protection of human rights.
International Federation for Human Rights Leagues urged Chad to ratify as soon as possible the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which was of utmost importance given the number of unresolved cases since the tentative coup d’état in 2008. There were numerous attempts to limit the freedom of press and it was regrettable that the recommendation to amend the Law on the Press which would protect journalists and ensure freedom of press had been rejected.
Amnesty International noted with regret that many of the recommendations rejected addressed key human rights concerns, such as enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, and attacks against journalists, political opponents and human rights defenders. Amnesty International was disappointed with the rejection of recommendations on the elimination of the recruitment and use of children under 18 in armed conflict.
Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale noted with satisfaction the recommendations and relevant observations made to Chad. The Government had taken actions to combat gender based violence but the organisation remained concerned about the situation of women and girls in the country.
Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme congratulated Chad for efforts made to bring peace to Mali and other areas of tension and noted the progress made since the previous cycle. Rencontre Africaine was concerned about the persistence of harmful practices affecting women and other groups and remaining restrictions to freedom of expression despite the abrogation of press crimes, and appealed to the international community for assistance.
Tchad agir pour l’environment welcomed the intervention of Chad’s army in the Central African Republic which had prevented a genocide and saved thousands of lives. Support from the international community was essential to help the thousands of displaced people. Tchad agir pour l’environment encouraged Chad to consolidate its efforts in the area of human rights and urged the international community to contribute to reforestation efforts in areas occupied by refugees.
IBRAHIM KOULAMALLAH, Minister for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Chad, said that a good number of recommendations made to Chad were already being implemented. The work of implanting human rights was an ongoing effort. Chad still faced challenges relating to poverty, weak State infrastructure, and illiteracy, which were all obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights. Chad hoped that the Human Rights Council would continue its support to Chad.
The Human Rights Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Chad.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of China
The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on China (A/HRC/25/5)
The Council has before it a corrigendum on the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on China (A/HRC/25/5/Corr.1)
The Council has before it an addendum on the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on China (A/HRC/25/5/Add.1)
WO HAILONG, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva, expressed China’s gratitude to all countries for their active participation in its Universal Periodic Review and said that it accorded great importance to the recommendations made. China had set up an inter-agency coordination mechanism to comprehensively go through the recommendations. China had one principle, that it would accept any recommendation that was suitable to its conditions, and therefore 204 of the 252 recommendations were accepted. That spoke amply of China’s determination to protect and promote human rights. Since its review last October the Government had taken many initiatives to advance the course of human rights. A recent Government report set forth new measures for the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights. The right to development was a primary human right and given top priority. China said it was one of the few countries that had formulated two successive national human rights action plans. Its current plan was more extensive than the last; it contained a series of mandatory targets, and provided a joint mechanism responsible for implementation and supervision. Tremendous resources had been mobilized for poverty alleviation and the numbers of poor people in China’s rural areas had been reduced. The fight against poverty would continue. China had also implemented a pro-active policy for job creation.
The number of migrant workers in China had reached 269 million. Their rights and interests had been comprehensively safeguarded. China had launched a project to alleviate poverty for education and improve schooling in rural areas. Concerning freedom of the internet and expression, China said it had more internet users than anywhere else in the world. Religious communities enjoyed solidarity and stability and freedom of religious belief was guaranteed; religions in China had developed in a sound manner. China followed the system of regional ethnic autonomy. Last December, China received the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women, which had yielded positive results. China was communicating with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on further cooperation. China spoke about the recommendations which it had not accepted, saying it was mainly because they were not practicable and at odds with realities in China, such as those regarding the death penalty. Some recommendations were inconsistent with facts, such as those on extrajudicial detention. There was no universally applicable development path. Whether a development path was good or not depended on whether it was applicable and in agreement with the will of the people.
Cuba thanked China for its responses, noted its success in implementing the recommendations made during previous cycles and progress made in numerous areas, including employment and freedom of religion, among others. Cuba thanked China for accepting its recommendations
Djibouti noted with satisfaction that most of the recommendations had been accepted, and acknowledged China’s achievements in the promotion of human rights. Djibouti encouraged China to continue to work in the areas of education and awareness-raising on human rights.
Egypt was encouraged that China had accepted all recommendations presented by Egypt. Egypt expressed support for the national efforts of China towards the protection of all human rights, commending the important role of China in realizing the right to development globally, including through its robust efforts in the areas of South-South and triangular cooperation.
Eritrea expressed satisfaction with the report of China and said it was confident that the Government had taken on board all the relevant recommendations including those presented by Eritrea. Eritrea would continue to engage with the Chinese delegation and to further strengthen their mutual understanding and cooperation.
United States welcomed China’s acceptance of recommendations related to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and urged China to ratify that important convention. It urged China to end all forms of arbitrary detention and expressed deep concern about the detention of human rights activists and lawyers as well as Government policies vis-à-vis ethnic minorities.
Gabon welcomed China’s cooperation with international human rights mechanisms, and noted its efforts to promote and protect human rights as well as China’s commitment to implement the right to development. Gabon encouraged China to continue taking all measures to protect human rights and combat all forms of discrimination.
Germany said it was troubled by the death of Cao Shunli, after she attempted to travel to the United Nations in Geneva to take part in the Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council. Germany urged China to establish the circumstances of her death and bring the perpetrators to justice. It welcomed the abolition of the re-education through labour system and hoped that would be fully implemented.
India took positive note of China’s constructive participation in the Universal Periodic Review and acceptance of a large number of recommendations, including those relating to the participation of women in public affairs and the continued promotion of development in ethnic minority regions.
Iran appreciated the Chinese Government’s endeavours in improving the national legislative and judicial framework and policies to promote and protect all human rights for its people. Significant measures and action taken mainly in the areas of economic and social development had been noted.
Ireland thanked China for accepting both of its recommendations. It expressed deep concern about the death in custody of the well-known human rights defender who was detained in 2013 after attempting to travel to Geneva to take part in the Human Rights Council.
Laos People’s Democratic Republic was pleased to note that China had accepted a large number of recommendations and had taken significant steps and action to realize them. China was commended for remarkable progress in promoting and protecting human rights in the country, including the right to development for people from poor and vulnerable groups.
Lebanon commended China for efforts made in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review. The report showed the efforts undertaken by China to promote and protect human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights. It was noted that the plan of action for human rights constituted a means to step up these efforts and move forward.
Sudan thanked China for taking part in the review and welcomed the progress achieved in the area of human rights, in particular combatting poverty and addressing unemployment. China’s attitude had been highly positive during the review process and it had accepted many recommendations, including those submitted by Sudan.
International Service for Human Rights said that among the recommendations accepted there was one about ensuring that human rights defenders exercised their legitimate activities; describing this as already implemented was manifestly untrue. The case of Cao Shunli, who had been detained and died in detention while seeking to cooperate with the Council, constituted a flagrant case of deadly reprisal.
World Organization against Torture, in a joint statement, deeply regretted that China had refused to consider ratifying the Optional Protocol of the Convention against torture. They were was also concerned about assertions by China that were far removed from reality, notably that there were no arbitrary or extrajudicial detentions in China and that human rights defenders were not subjected to reprisals.
COC Nederland, in a joint statement, welcomed the fact that China had accepted recommendations concerning fighting discrimination, including on the basis on sexual orientation and gender identity. They were concerned about the practice of marking these recommendations as implemented, which created a huge implementation gap.
China Disabled Persons’ Federation recognized the efforts of China to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, including through laws and regulations as well as the ratification of the related United Nations Convention. The Federation encouraged China to make more efforts to further increase financial input to public services for persons with disabilities, and to establish a database on the needs of these persons.
The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues was concerned about widespread harassment and threats against human rights defenders, including those cooperating with international human rights mechanisms. They urged China to end prosecutions against defenders and free all persons arbitrarily detained, and to take all necessary steps to withdraw repressive laws and measures in ethnic areas.
Human Rights Watch expressed grave concern about China’s deeply misleading comments regarding freedom of expression, the rights of civil society and lawyers, and respect for the rights of ethnic minorities. Human Rights Watch urged China to explain itself about arbitrary detention, suppression of peaceful expression, and reprisals against Cao Shunli and other human rights defenders and activists. Human Rights Watch welcomed the abolition of rehabilitation through labour.
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada was gravely concerned about the death of Cao Shunli, who peacefully campaigned for civil society input into China’s Universal Periodic Review process. It raised concern that lawyers advocating for Falun Gong practitioners were intimidated, disbarred, imprisoned and tortured. It considered comments by delegations welcoming China’s human rights progress as cruelly inadequate.
Action Canada for Population and Development welcomed actions of the Government of China to recognise the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. The Government was encouraged to take further action to fulfil its responsibility to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
Amnesty International called on China to create an environment in which participation in the Universal Periodic Review process could take place without fear of reprisals or physical harm. The death of Chinese activist Cao Shunli, who paid the ultimate price for campaigning for greater transparency and civil society participation in the Review process, was deeply mourned.
WU HAILONG, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in concluding remarks said China had carefully listened to the statements. Some countries and organizations had raised additional comments and recommendations. China was ready to accept any recommendation based on good will and in accordance to the conditions in China. The State should respect and protect human rights and this was enshrined in China’s Constitution and protected all the people of China. All citizens had to abide by the law and operate within the framework of the law. China treated everyone as equal and did not practice selectivity or double standards. The path chosen by a country for development should be decided based upon the country’s history, cultural, as well as social and economic development levels, and the will of their people. China opposed the politicization of human rights issues and double standards. These practices could not win the support of the people. Some non-governmental organizations had completely ignored reality and fact and wilfully carried attacks and slanders against some countries. This could not be accepted. China would continue to be committed to the Universal Periodic Review and further implement the recommendations accepted.
For use of the information media; not an official record