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Statement by Counsellor Yao Shaojun during the general debate of the High-Level Thematic debate on Human Rights of GA

2016/07/13

Mr. President,

First of all, I wish to express my appreciation to you for convening this High-Level Thematic debate. In the current situation,how to promote and protect human rights indeed has become a matter that calls for reflection on the part of the international community. Here, China wishes to highlight the following points:

First, dialogue and cooperation must be strengthened. The

international community should enhance dialogue and cooperation in human rights arena on the basis of equality and mutual respect, abandon accusations and confrontations and avoid politicization of human rights issues and practice of double standards. At present, the Human Right Council resorts to widespread practice of naming and shaming, openly exerting pressure and interfering with the internal affairs of member states. We express our grave concern in this connection. If the current situation is allowed to continue, the Human Rights Council will inevitably repeat the fate of the Human Rights Commission.

Second, greater attention must be given to the right to development.

The right to development is an inalienable basic human right which constitutes a necessary condition for the achievement of all other human rights. The international community should seize the opportunity offered by the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development and the High-Level commemorative meeting of the General Assembly in September this year, to bring all countries on board in terms of recognizing and supporting the right to development, to push member states to do more to promote and protect the right to development, and to rectify the current situation where civil and political rights are given too much attention.

Third, 2030 agenda for sustainable development should be

implemented in a comprehensive manner with poverty reduction and development placed at the front and center of our endeavor. There are 17 sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030, and we all agreed that poverty reduction and achieving development are the core components. We must adopt a comprehensive and effective approach in implementing all the SDGs, focusing on the core components. To selectively emphasize a few goals such as reducing inequality within one country (goal 10) and promoting peaceful and inclusive society(goal 16) is not the right approach. Even less so is the approach to turn Agenda 2030 into a human rights agenda through distortion.

Fourth, judicial sovereignty and internal affairs of member states must be effectively respected. Promotion and protection of human rights must be based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Rule of law constitutes an important guarantee for the promotion and protection of human rights. Civil society organizations are a major force in terms of people’s participation in public life and promotion of economic and social development. However, activities by Civil Society and individuals must follow local laws. “Human rights” must not be used as a pretext to ignore or act above the law, as so doing would undermine the interests of the majority and the public order.

Fifth, the choice made by countries to promote and protect human rights in light of their own conditions must be respected. Due to different historical, religious and cultural backgrounds and due to differences in social system and level of development, it is only natural that countries should have different opinions on human rights, and as a result, human rights values should not be imposed. Respect must be given to the approach that countries take to promote and protect human rights based on their own conditions and level of development.

Mr. President,

The most authoritative voice on a country’s human rights record comes from the people of the country concerned. By combining the universal nature of human rights with the specific conditions in the country, the Chinese government has successfully charted out a path to human rights development in China that best suits its conditions. The enjoyment of various human rights by our people stands at the best level historically. When it comes to human rights, there are no best guarantees, but only better ones. The Chinese government will continue to promote the cause of human rights, facilitate dialogue and cooperation in international human rights arena so as to make greater contribution to the progress of human civilization.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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