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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Yishan, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN at the 2002 ECOSOC'S Substantive Session On Item 14(g)

Mr. President,

The 58th session of the Commission on Human Rights was the first of its kind held following the World Conference Against Racism and the "September 11"events.  Therefore, the session was of great significance.  Two resolutions adopted at the session of "Human Rights and International Solidarity" and "Enhancement of International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights" reflected a majority of countries' shared desire for dialogue and cooperation instead of confrontation on the human rights issue.  It is generally held that under the current circumstances, we shall still face with many serious challenges and daunting tasks in fully ensuring human rights and basic freedom.  Only when all countries seize the opportunity and cooperate together, can we jointly promote a healthy development of the world cause for human rights.  I would, hereby, like to share with you some of my thoughts on further strengthening of the international cooperation.

Firstly, the strengthening of exchanges of cooperation in the field of human rights helps promote mutual understanding and good neighborliness among states.  After the human society has withstood several thousand years'of vicissitudes, there have formed diverse national characteristics and cultural traditions, thus bringing about diversity in world civilization.  Due to different historical conditions, social systems, levels of development and concepts of values, it is only natural to have different views on the human rights issue.  By respecting the universal principles of human rights, countries should be allowed, encouraged and welcomed to take effective measures to protect and promote human rights while taking into account their own national conditions.  It is therefore neither practical nor feasible to demand all countries adopt the same development model.  The international community should, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and through dialogue, exchanges and cooperation, deepen understanding and communication so as to make exchanges and cooperation in the human rights field a positive factor making for safeguarding human rights and promoting the development of relations between states.

Secondly, the strengthening of exchanges and cooperation in the field of human rights helps enhance fairness and efficiency of the Commission on Human Rights.  Being an important UN agency for protecting and promoting human rights, the Commission should have become an important forum whereby all countries should gather together, pool their wisdom and make concrete contributions to the development of the world cause of human rights.  Regrettably, some countries have, over the past few years, disregarded the basic facts and politicized the human rights issue by adopting dual standards. They have insisted on tabling in the session resolutions on individual developing countries so as to turn the session into an arena for ideological struggles.  This has not only given rise to seriously undermining the Commission's fairness and efficiency, failing to solve problems, but also wasting a lot of precious resources.  It is our hope that all countries will, through dialogue and exchanges on an equal footing, properly handle divergent views on the human rights issue with a view to making the session a forum that truly protects and promotes human rights.

Thirdly, the strengthening of exchanges and cooperation in the field of human rights is an effective tool to fight against terrorism.  Terrorism jeopardizes innocent people's life, dignity and safety.  It also constitutes a blatant violation of democracy and human rights and a serious threat to peace, prosperity and development of all countries.  Many countries, including China, have been victims of  terrorism.  The international community should, proceeding from the common interests of all peoples, take a unified position and resolutely combat all forms of terrorism.  To fight against terrorism, we need both address its symptoms and root causes.  The long-term and effective way of eradicating terrorism is to  help solve the increasingly serious problem of development, narrow the gap between the north and the south and between the rich and the poor and increase mutual understanding and dialogue among different countries and civilizations.  In this regard, the Economic and Social Council and its functional commissions including the Commission on Human Rights are entirely capable to and must  play their active roles and make significant contributions towards this end.

Thank you, Mr. President.
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