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Robinson Satisfied with China's Human Rights Cooperation

2002/08/19
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson said that she is satisfied with the implementation of a two-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) on technical cooperation between her office and China aimed at furthering the promotion of human rights conditions in the country.

"I am very satisfied with the spirit of cooperation...of the Chinese Government," said Robinson during a telephone interview with China Daily on August 16.

After two years of discussions, China and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights signed the MOU in November 2000, pledging to work together in areas such as judicial administration, human rights education, the building of a judicial system and the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights.

In the past two years, international workshops have been held in the framework of such issues as human rights education, the punishment of minor crimes and re-education through labor.

A new workshop for judges and lawyers starts on August 19 in Beijing, where Robinson, on three-day visit to the Chinese capital, will be present.

"It is a part of the success of the program that it has not been that the workshops kicked off and finished, but rather that the workshops are supposed to lead to the next step -- the process," commented Robinson.

"I think the strength of the program is in the process of working together very closely on very key issues of human rights for China -- processes and legislative and other changes that China is facing in order to meet the standards of the (International) Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," she added.

China has signed both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The latter document was ratified by the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body in February last year.

Apart from opening the workshop, Robinson will also, during her brief stay in Beijing, evaluate the implementation of the MOU, the first agreement on technical cooperation between the Chinese Government and her office. She is also scheduled to hold meetings with Chinese officials including Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Guangya and Vice-Premier Qian Qichen during which Robinson said they would "take stock of the wider human rights situation."

"I have higher expectations (for this visit) because I have found that on each of my visits there has been an opportunity to deepen further cooperation between my office and the government of China on expanding the cooperation program," said Robinson, commenting on her seventh visit and probably the last one to China in her current capacity.

"I hope we can have discussions about future activities under that program," she said.

Chinese Government leaders and officials, including Vice-Premier Qian, have repeatedly voiced China's willingness to participate in international cooperation in human rights protection. Besides the High Commissioner's Office, China has also conducted dialogues with the European Union and the United States on human rights protection.
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