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Statement by H.E. Ambassador SHA Zukang, Head of the Chinese Delegation, on Item 4 at the 58th Session of the Commission on Human Rights

2002/03/20
Mr. Chairman,

Having carefully studied the Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the current session, the Chinese delegation would like to make the following comments:

The World Conference against Racism held last year in Durban is an important event of the new century in the area of human rights. We would like to express our appreciation to South Africa, the host country that served as President of the Conference, as well as to the High Commissioner, Mme. Mary Robinson, for their intensive coordinating efforts in bridging differences on the final document and their contributions to the success of the Conference. The Chinese Government highly appraises the Conference and its final document. Our mission now is to implement its outcome. The Third Committee of the General Assembly has recently decided through a resolution to establish an Anti-Discrimination Unit within the Office of the High Commissioner and to appoint five independent eminent experts to follow the implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action. China supports these measures. We are ready to give wide publicity to the Declaration and Programme of Action in various ways and to promote harmonious relations and common development among different races, ethnic groups and nations.

In her Report, the High Commissioner elaborated at length on the issue of human rights and terrorism. Terrorism, in whatever form or manifestation, endangers the life and safety of innocent people, thus constituting a gross violation of human rights. Therefore, the international community should stand firmly against all forms of terrorism, combating in a consistent and resolute way any terrorist act, regardless of how, when, where and against whom it is committed. Adopting double or even multiple standards in this respect would serve as connivance of terrorism. It would lead to grave consequences. If the same acts against me are labeled as terrorism and against you praised as defending human rights, the world will be in chaos. To put it bluntly, the essence of double or multiple standards is still one standard, namely, the standard of one country. In combating terrorism, international humanitarian law and human rights must be respected. The scope of the fight should not be broadened arbitrarily. Terrorism should not be linked up with specific ethnic groups, religions or countries. Counter-terrorism efforts should deal with both its symptoms and its root causes, seeking long-term and fundamental solutions while coping with immediate problems. The international community should ponder seriously over how to advance democracy at the international level and overcome development-related problems, as a final solution to the issue of terrorism would come only after all its root causes are removed.

In accordance with UNGA Resolution 56/168, an open-ended Ad Hoc Committee will be established to consider the possibility of elaborating an international convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. In her Report, the High Commissioner gives a detailed account of the study conducted by OHCHR on the protection of their rights. The Report also makes a systematic analysis of the related provisions in existing core international human rights conventions and the issue of the violation of their rights. It provides a basis for the elaboration of the convention. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities and has accumulated some successful experience in this area. We are of the view that the international community should study how to protect their rights from the perspectives of both social development and human rights. We support efforts by the High Commissioner in this regard and stand ready to join the international community in pushing for the formulation of such a convention.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese Government fully recognizes OHCHR's expertise in technical assistance. Since Mme. Mary Robinson's first visit to China in 1998, the Chinese Government and OHCHR have been cooperating on the basis of mutual understanding and respect and in a progressive, step-by-step manner. Pursuant to the MOU between China and OHCHR, the two sides organized in the past year a series of activities, including a Seminar on the Punishment of Minor Crimes and its follow-up, a Seminar on Human Rights and Police and its follow-up and a Seminar on Human Rights Education. Built on these efforts, the two sides signed a Mutual Agreement on cooperation for 2002 at the end of last year. According to this Agreement, the Chinese Government will cooperate with OHCHR in such areas as the development of human rights courses, human rights training for police at the provincial level or at police academies, provision of human rights fellowships and promotion of economic, social and cultural rights. We are confident that our cooperation with OHCHR on the basis of the afore-mentioned principles will continue to register new achievements.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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