|Statement by Tian Ni, Adviser of the Chinese Delegation, on "Implementation of Human Rights Instruments" (Item 71a) at the Third Committee of the 60the Session of the General Assembly|
The Chinese government attaches great importance to the important role played by human rights instruments in promoting and protecting human rights. China is already a party to 21 international human rights conventions, including the "International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights", the "Convention on the Rights of the Child" and the "Convention against Torture". We have also signed the "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" and the "Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts". We are in the process of seriously considering ratifying these two instruments.
With regard to international human rights conventions to which China is a party, our government has made serious efforts to implement them through legislative, judicial and administrative measures. It also attaches great importance to submitting implementation reports to relevant treaty bodies. China has, respectively, submitted the initial report under the "International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights", nine reports under the "International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination", six reports under the "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women", three reports under the "Convention against Torture", two reports under the "Convention on the Rights of the Child" and the initial report under the optional protocol to the 'Convention on the Rights of the Child' on the 'Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child pornography'". China is currently compiling the 4th and the 5th consolidated report under the "Convention against Torture".
The Chinese government maintains open channels of dialogue and communication with human rights treaty bodies. We have also established a good interactive relationship with this committee during its deliberations. At the same time, in order to facilitate the understanding of human rights treaty bodies of the status of implementation of human rights instruments in China, the Chinese government has, on several occasions, invited relevant expert committee members to China for fact- finding visits and to solicit their recommendations.
Since the return of Hong Kong and Macao to China, the Chinese government has, in accordance with the principle of "one country, two systems", actively supported the governments of the special administrative regions of Hong kong and Macao to carry out human rights work and fulfill their obligations under relevant human rights conventions. With regard to human rights instruments applicable to these two special administrative regions, the Chinese government includes in its implementation reports information regarding the status of implementation of these instruments compiled by the governments of the two special administrative regions.
The Chinese delegation is of the view that international human rights instruments have played an active role in promoting and protecting human rights; and that all human rights treaty bodies have done a good deal of useful work in line with their respective treaty mandates. This is something to be recognized.
But at the same time, the present reporting system is overly complicated and burdensome. There are obvious overlaps of work between different bodies. The Secretary-General of the United Nations specifically pointed this out in his report of 2002 entitled: "Strengthening of the United Nations: An Agenda for Further change" (A/57/387). The meetings of chairpersons of human rights treaty bodies and the inter-committee meetings of human rights treaty bodies have also proposed recommendations for change in this regard. The Chinese government takes note of these recommendations and commends the efforts by those concerned. Meanwhile, we are of the view that reform measures should avoid adding even more complicated and cumbersome requirements for member states. The reporting system should be streamlined so as to enhance efficiency and lessen the burden of compiling reports for state parties, especially the developing state parties. Therefore, relatively more generous time-space between reports under some conventions could be considered and it is not necessary to establish new human rights treaty bodies except when there is a special need.
Furthermore, the consideration of implementation reports of state parties by human rights treaty bodies is a process of dialogue and exchange of views on an equal footing between the relevant treaty bodies and states parties. Therefore, this process should always follow the principle of objectivity and fairness. Constructive dialogue should be conducted in the spirit of cooperation. Any complaints and criticisms against governments of state parties based on accusations which are groundless or distort facts must be avoided. Information from external sources should be treated with caution, so as to differentiate truth from falsehood and avoid being made use of by entities or individuals with ulterior motives. Conclusions and recommendations should take into account the actual situations of countries and should be focused and workable.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.