20 March, 2001, Geneva
At the outset I wish to congratulate you warmly for your elelction to the chairmanship of the 57th session of the Commission on Human Rights.
The Chinese delegation associates itself fully with the statements made by the distinguished ambassadors of India and Malaysia on the organization of work. In this new century, the Commission should embark on its work with a positive approach and constructive working methods, in order to realise the fair and effective promotion and protection of human rights. To this end, we would like to make the following observations and proposals:
1. Advocating the principle of equality, democracy and mutual respect
The realization of peace, development and human rights is a purpose enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and sovereign equality and non-interference in internal affairs are important principles contained in the Charter. For many years a few countries persisted in taking on the role of humanh rights "judges", patronizing and pointing their fingers at others while ignoring or turning away from their own problems. This approach is in contravention to the spirit of the Charter and democratic principles and should thus be rejected by the Commission.
2. Eschewing "Cold War" mentality and replacing confrontation with dialogue
The Commission should be a forum where the exchange of views and experiences on human rights issues can be carried out in a calm and dispassionate way. Certain countries, however, still cling to their "Cold War" mentality and confrontational approach, going so far as to bringing their own domestic politics and party disputes into the Commission. This can only serve to tarnish the credibility of the Commission and poison its working atmosphere. We strongly appeal to these countries to give up politicisation and confrontation so as to return to the right track of dialogue and cooperation.
3. Putting more emphasis on social, economic and cultural rights
For many years a lack of even-handed treatment in the Commission has resulted in the preponderance of civil and political rights and the lesser importance given to social, economic and cultural rights and the right to development. More initiatives should therefore be taken in determining agenda items, allotting time for their consideration, deciding on the number of resolutions and the setting up of mechanisms, in order to make up for the lack of balance.
4. Preparation for the Commission's meeting
We have heard complaints from many countries that the late issuance of Commission documents affected their effective participations in the discussions of relevant items. We hope that the Secretariat would show more concern to this problem and settle it by adopting the appropriate measures.
Taking the practices of and results from other bodies in the U.N. system as reference, we think that the Commission on Human Rights should reduce its session to 4 weeks. But as a first step, the Commission should take the necessary measures to enhance its efficiency. Furthermore, the Rules of Procedure applied to the Commssion was adopted by the ECOSOC in 1947. Any revision to the Rules can only be made by the ECOSOC. States should have the right, pursuant to the Rules of Procedures, to raise any procedural issue prior to its revision. This will guarantee the normal functioning of the Commission's work and prevent those acts which are politically motivated. Besides, opposing the application of Rules of Procedure does not conform to the principle of rule of law.
5. Participation of NGOs
The Chinese government attaches importance to the participation of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the Commission because they can contribute to the Commission's work. NGOs' activities in the Commission must, however, be conducted in accordance with ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31 and other relevant resolutions of the U.N. and be in compliance with the relevant rules and regulations. They must neither abuse their consultative status, nor act against the principles and purposes of the Charter.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.