|Statement by Mr. GUO Xiaofeng, Adviser of the Chinese delegation at the Third Committee of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly on the Implementation of Human Rights Instruments (Item 70a)|
|New York, 23 October 2007|
The Chinese government attaches great importance to the crucial role played by international human rights instruments in promoting and protecting human rights. Today, China is a state party to 21 international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention against Torture.
With regard to the international human rights instruments it has acceded to, the Chinese government, apart from engaging in effective implementation through a host of legislative, judicial and administrative measures, also pays close attention to the submission of compliance reports to the relevant treaty bodies. To date, China has submitted its initial report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social , and Cultural Rights; nine reports on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; six reports on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; two reports on the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the initial report on the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography; and five reports on the Convention against Torture. This year, the Chinese government is preparing the 10th-13th consolidated report on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, scheduled to be submitted to the Committee on Racial Discrimination later this year or early next year.
The Chinese government has maintained smooth dialogue and communications with the human rights treaty bodies. It not only enjoys productive interactions with the relevant committees during their consideration of the national reports of China, but also has set great premium on the follow-up to the concluding comments by these committees.
Since the return of Hong Kong and Macao to the motherland, the Chinese government, under the principle of "one country, two systems", has provided energetic support to the governments of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region in their efforts to protect human rights and fulfill their obligations under the relevant conventions. On the human rights instruments applicable to Hong Kong and Macao, the Chinese government has always incorporated into its compliance reports the implementation reports written by the governments of these two Special Administrative Regions themselves.
The Chinese delegation believes that international human rights instruments have played an active role in the promotion and protection of human rights, and various human rights treaty bodies have done a lot of useful work under their respective mandates, which deserves due recognition.
At the same time, there exists an outstanding problem of excessive reporting burden for states parties and duplication of efforts among treaty bodies, due to the over-complexity of the current reporting regime. The UN Secretary-General, the meeting of the Chairpersons of Human Rights Treaty Bodies and the Committee on Human Rights Treaty Bodies have all put forward reform proposals for solving this problem. In March 2006, the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a concept paper on the proposal for a "Unified Standing Treaty Body" with a view to adequately addressing the shortcomings plaguing the human rights treaty bodies and enhancing efficiency. Last April, OHCHR briefed the states parties on the "harmonized guidelines on reporting under the international human rights treaties, including guidelines on an expanded core document and treaty-specific targeted reports". The Chinese government has taken note of these recommendations and would like to express its appreciations for the efforts of OHCHR and other parties in this connection. The Chinese government will continue to support the reform of human rights treaty bodies and their current mechanisms for country report submission and consideration. At the same time, we think that reform initiatives should aim at simplifying reporting line and increasing efficiency, and should refrain from imposing even more complex and redundant requirements on states parties, so as to really easy their burdens. The requirements for the contents of the reports and their consideration should not go beyond the purview of the treaties in question. It is the hope of the Chinese government that OHCHR and the treaty bodies will continue to enhance their exchanges and dialogue with the states parties, and reach consensus through extensive solicitation of opinions and suggestions.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.