|Statement by Mr. Liang Heng of Chinese Delegation at the Third Committee of the 70th Session of the GA under Agenda Item Implementation of human rights instruments|
The Chinese delegation has taken note of the report of the chairs of the human rights treaty bodies on their 27th meeting and other related reports, and commends the work done by these treaty bodies over the past year in considering the implementation of human rights instruments by S
States parties. We support the effort made by the human rights treaty bodies within their respective mandates in promoting the implementation of international human rights instruments.
More than a year has elapsed since the 68th session of the GA adopted the resolution on “Strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system”. In this connection, China would like to share the following views on the work of treaty bodies in general and the follow-up to the said resolution in particular:
First, on the full participation of States parties in the follow-up to resolution 68/268. This resolution was the hard-earned result of extensive consultations and joint efforts over two years involving various stakeholders, including States parties, treaty bodies and OHCHR. Therefore, all parties concerned should implement the resolution in a comprehensive and balanced manner and avoid cherry-picking, and to ensure that the plans and practices associated with the implementation of the resolution, as well as the effect they produce, are in line with what the resolution set out to achieve. To this end, it is necessary for the treaty bodies and OHCHR to further engage in thorough and timely communication with the States parties and, on the basis of consensus, steer the implementation of the resolution towards the enhancement of effective functioning of the treaty body system. In addition, we look forward to an early elaboration by the treaty bodies of effective working methods as required by resolution 68/268, so as to lessen the additional obligations on States parties when it comes to treaty implementation.
Two, on activities and mandates of treaty bodies. As articulated in Chapter III of the report, “treaty bodies derived their legal basis and mandate directly from the human rights treaties and their States parties”. Treaty bodies should act as required by their respective treaties; conduct their work with the support of the conferences of States parties under the principles of objectivity, impartiality and independence; genuinely respect their treaty-derived mandates; and help States parties implement the treaties more effectively through constructive dialogue carried out on an equal footing. In this regard, we have noted the adoption of what is known as Guidelines against Intimidation and Reprisals (aka the San Jose Guidelines) by the meeting of the chairs. China is of the view that the primary responsibility for protecting individuals from intimidation and reprisals lies with each State party as it concerns the State party’s treaty obligations. Therefore, such guidelines should be formulated through consultations involving States parties and treaty bodies, instead of being unilaterally decided by the meeting of the chairs of treaty bodies. Moreover, there are inconsistencies between parts of the Guidelines, and the provisions of the treaties concerned. Full consultation with States parties on the Guidelines is therefore necessary to take on board their inputs. It is inappropriate to disseminate and implement the Guidelines before a consensus is reached.
Three, on the participation of the civil society in the activities of treaty bodies. We have noted the close interaction between treaty bodies and the civil society referred to by the report. While setting great store by the role of the civil society, including nongovernmental organizations, in promoting and protecting human rights, China maintains that the participation of NGOs in the deliberations of treaty bodies ought to stay in line with UN norms and regulations, such as ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31. Treaty bodies should attach importance to information provided by the governments of States parties and have a duty to screen information submitted by other organizations and individuals for veracity and reliability, thus ensuring comprehensive, objective and impartial evaluation of treaty implementation by States parties.
The Chinese Government has been fulfilling its treaty obligations in earnest and in good faith and has always engaged in interactive dialogue with treaty bodies in a spirit of sincere cooperation. In October 2014, China and the CEDAW Committee held an interactive dialogue on China’s combined seventh and eighth periodic report. The Chinese Government takes very seriously the Committee’s concluding observations and will work through them to identify recommendations feasible in our national context for follow-up. Next month, the Committee against Torture will consider China’s sixth report on the implementation of the Convention against Torture. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with the CAT in line with the requirements of the Convention and the applicable rules of procedure, with a view to making greater strides in China’s human rights protection.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.