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Statement by Counsellor Yao Shaojun at the Third Committee of the 70th Session of the General Assembly before taking action on the draft resolution "Human Rights Defenders"

2015/11/25

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese government has always been committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and supportive of actions of promoting and protecting human rights within the Chinese legal framework.

It is our view that since the term “human rights defenders” lacks a clear and uniform definition reached through intergovernmental negotiations, different countries have different views as to what kind of people qualify as “human rights defenders”. All people are entitled to the same human rights and fundamental freedoms and “human rights defenders” should not be views as a special group with special rights and special legal status. The statement made by sponsor just now further proves that they identify human rights defenders as a special group, and impose their position on other countries.

National governments bear the primary responsibility of promoting and protecting the human rights of their own people. Facts over the years have proven that ensuring domestic peace and social stability are the best public good that a government can deliver and the prerequisite for the enjoyment of human rights by the population. Everyone is entitled to exercising human rights and fundamental freedoms within the legal framework and no one can act willfully under the pretext of “defending human rights” to endanger the interests of the majority of the population and disrupt public order. Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have stipulated explicitly that the exercise of the rights may be subject to certain restrictions as are provided by law and are necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others and for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals. A country’s law is the embodiment of the will and interest of the absolute majority of its population. Any violation of the national law is a violation of the will and rights of the majority of the people and should be sanctioned by law even if committed under the pretext of “defending human rights”. Reasonable legislation and strict law enforcement represent the only way to genuinely promote and protect human rights.

China attaches great importance to the draft resolution tabled by Norway. We took part in the consultations on the draft resolution in a positive and constructive spirit and proposed amendments based on the above reasoning, including proposing to return to the previous consensus text for certain paragraphs. Although sponsor symbolically responded to some of the amendments, unfortunately, our core amendments have not been accepted by the sponsor.

In recent years, certain Western countries on the one hand hunted down their nationals who attempt to promote and protect human rights, even to the point of forcing them to seek asylum in other countries, and on the other hand, used the protection of “human rights defenders” as an excuse to interfere in the internal affairs of developing countries and disrupt their social stability. We are worried that the adoption of this draft resolution in the current form will only worsen the application of “double standard” as mentioned above and intensify the momentum detrimental to the developing countries.

Based on these reasons, China has no choice but to vote against this draft resolution.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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