|Statement by H.E. Ambassador LIU Zhenmin, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Third Committee of the 64th Session of the General Assembly on Human Rights (Items 69b,c)|
(26 October 2009, New York)
As one of the three pillars of the work of the United Nations together with security and development, human rights is the subject of unprecedented attention of the international community. Dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights have become the trend at the international level.
Meanwhile, the promotion and protection of human rights in the world is still confronted with many challenges, such as the ongoing impact of the world financial crisis, the mounting unevenness in global development, large-scale violations of human rights resulting from armed conflicts and poverty, and the continued serious racial discrimination and xenophobia. Since the birth of the first monumental instrument on human rights of the United Nations, namely the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, sixty years ago, the United Nations has made numerous achievements in the field of human rights. However, the UN human rights mechanism still leaves much room for improvement.
It is the joint responsibility of all member states of the United Nations to promote the sound development of the international human rights undertaking. In this regard, we propose to make further efforts in the following areas:
First, fully acknowledge the particularities of different civilizations and respect the choice of the development path made by countries based on their national conditions and their people's will. Due to differences in historical and cultural tradition, level of economic development and social system, countries face different challenges and priorities in the area of human rights. It is not desirable to impose one single model for human rights promotion and protection. Instead, it is necessary to adopt an objective and dynamic approach in viewing a country's human rights situation, continue to vigorously advocate dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights, and promote mutual respect and learning among civilizations and religions, and among countries with different social systems and levels of development.
Second, attach importance to the aspirations of the developing countries for the right to development. Owing to the world financial crisis, the external conditions for development of the developing countries have worsened, resulting in slowed economic growth and severe impediment to their development. Without the development of all developing countries and without their participation on an equal footing, there can be no common prosperity of the world, nor the possibility to establish a more just and equitable international economic order to ensure the equal enjoyment of fundamental rights by all. The international community should demonstrate political will and take concrete actions to bridge the development gap between the North and the South and achieve common development. The developed countries should assume greater responsibilities and scale up their financial and technical support to the developing countries and honor their ODA commitment.
Third, promote the building of harmonious and inclusive societies. At present, discrimination and prejudice based on race, color, sex, language and religion still exist. Old forms of racism are far from being eradicated, whereas various contemporary forms of racism have emerged. The international community should continue to pay attention to this problem, effectively implement the "zero tolerance" policy towards racism and commit itself to building harmonious societies in which everyone can enjoy dignity and justice. We support the adoption by consensus by the GA of the outcome document of Durban Review Conference.
Fourth, improve the human rights protection mechanism of the UN system. There still exists a considerable gap between the prevailing atmosphere in the Human Rights Council and the spirit advocated by GA Resolution 60/251. The Human Rights Council, the Third Committee and the relevant human rights treaty bodies have yet to totally get rid of politicization and double standard in their work. The severe under-representation of the developing countries in the UN human rights bodies needs to be rectified urgently. The OHCHR should implement the recommendations of the JIU as soon as possible to redress the striking imbalance in geographical representation in its staff composition. Furthermore, the Office should strictly abide by the principles of objectivity and equity and subject its work to the oversight of member states in an open and transparent manner. The process of selecting candidates for the Special Procedures should be improved to fully reflect the specificities of different cultures and legal systems. We should support the participation of more NGOs from developing countries in the international human rights area and help them with capacity-building.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is an innovation of the Human Rights Council. Generally speaking, it has been functioning smoothly since its inception. All parties should continue to make concerted efforts to ensure the UPR operate on the right track, so that it can facilitate efforts of member states to exchange views, share experience and strengthen cooperation in promoting and protecting human rights.
In February this year, China was considered at the UPR session, during which we conducted open and candid dialogue with other countries. We attach great importance to the views and recommendations put forward by member states and will implement the recommendations that we have accepted in conjunction with our political and economic development strategies and plans.
Since its establishment more than three years ago, the Human Rights Council has functioned smoothly with reduced confrontation and enhanced ability to respond to human rights emergencies. A year or so from now, the Human Rights Council will be reviewed in terms of its status and its work. We hope that all parties will, in accordance with the mandate of GA Resolution 60/251, evaluate and improve the work of the Council, further rationalize the division of work among different UN agencies in this area, and improve efficiency so as to enable the Council to handle human rights issues in a more impartial, objective and non-selective manner.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Over the past 6 decades, China has gone through historic changes and great strides have been made in China's human rights development. The average life expectancy went up from 35 years to 73 and hundreds of millions of people have emerged from poverty and become well-off. Illiterate people have been reduced by 200 million people and 160 million students receive free nine-year compulsory education. We have also steadily promoted the development of democracy, rule of law and political reform. We have adopted 231 pieces of legislation and ratified 25 international human rights conventions. There are 400,000 registered civil society organizations, and our citizens' participation in state and social affairs has been continuously expanding. Looking back over the past 60 years, we can see that the most profound change is the change of our people, in particular, the change of their mindset and the considerable elevation in their living standard, dignity and value.
While delighted with our achievement, we are somberly aware that China is still the biggest developing country beset with numerous challenges in the field of human rights. In view of this, the Chinese government has put forward the concept of the Scientific Outlook on Development which is people centered and has continued to explore new approaches and measures to promote and protect human rights. In the face of the financial crisis, we unveiled an economic stimulus package of 4 trillion RMB, more than half of which is dedicated to undertakings related to people's livelihood. We will continue to scale up our efforts in poverty eradication. From this year, we started to implement a new poverty line, which expands the coverage of the poverty alleviation program by 1.6 fold to include 40.07 million people. In addition, we also promulgated a new program for health care reform, with the goal of ensuring the basic health care for all residents in both urban and rural areas by 2011 and achieving medical insurance for all by 2020. In April this year, after incorporating various inputs from the civil society, the Chinese government promulgated the first biennial National Human Rights Action Plan, demonstrating our strong determination in promoting human rights. Various governmental departments in China are currently adopting practical measures to conscientiously implement the Action Plan. While committed to its national human rights cause, China is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with other countries in our joint endeavor to promote human rights.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.