|Statement by H.E. Ambassador Liu Zhenmin, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Third Committee of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly under Item on Implementation of Human Rights Instruments|
21 October 2008, New York
The Chinese government attaches great importance to the role of international human rights instruments in the promotion and protection of human rights. China is a state party to important international human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention against Torture, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In December 2007, China ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict which came into force in China on 2 March 2008. China also ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this past June and the Convention came into force in China on 31 August this year.
In connection with the international human rights instruments it has acceded to, the Chinese government fulfils in earnest its treaty obligations. It has adopted legislative, judicial and administrative measures for the implementation of those conventions and pays high attention to the submission of periodic reports to treaty bodies. China has submitted the initial report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, thirteen periodic reports on six occasions on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, six reports on four occasions on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, five reports on four occasions on the Convention against Torture, two reports on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the initial report on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
The Chinese government pays great attention to the important role of human rights treaty bodies and has maintained excellent dialogue and communication with these bodies. During the review processes, we made a point of engaging in good and interactive dialogue with the committees while taking into full account of the comments and recommendations made by the committees with a view to putting them into practice on the basis of our specific national conditions.
Since the return of Hong Kong and Macao, , the Chinese government has, in line with the principle of "one country, two systems", actively supported the governments of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region in carrying out the work of protecting human rights and fulfilling treaty obligations.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration is the first international instrument which advocates the comprehensive protection of and respect for human rights in the world. It provides for the equal treatment of various human rights and, in particular, recognizes the economic, social and cultural rights. As such, it has become the theoretical and ideological basis of international human rights instruments. Since its adoption 60 years ago, great progress has been made in the cause of human rights. With its actions, the Chinese government has honored its solemn commitment to the Declaration and has made continuous progress in the cause of human rights protection in China.
The Chinese government hopes that, in order to jointly promote and strengthen the development of the cause of human rights, all countries should stick to the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, engage in dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect with a view to increasing mutual understanding, seeking common ground, narrowing differences and expanding consensus.
The Chinese delegation believes that international human rights instruments have played a positive role in promoting and protecting human rights and human right treaty bodies have also done a great deal of useful work in accordance with their mandates. This deserves our recognition.
At the same time, excessively complicated and heavy reporting burden is a problem in the current reporting mechanism and duplication of labor among different treaty bodies is an outstanding phenomenon. Certain treaty bodies often exceed their mandates in the exercise of their duties. In response to the reform recommendations of the Secretary-General, the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) put forward a concept paper on the "Unified Human Rights Treaty Body" in March 2006 with the aim of addressing the flaws in current human rights treaty bodies and enhancing efficiency. In April 2007, OHCHR introduced to the member states the harmonized guidelines on reporting under the international human rights treaties, including guidelines on a common core document and treaty-specific documents. The Chinese government has taken note of these recommendations and expresses its appreciation for the efforts made by OHCHR and the relevant parties. We believe that the reform should be aimed at streamlining the reporting mechanism and enhancing efficiency. Therefore, it should avoid making more complicated or cumbersome requests to the states parties but should effectively reduce their burden. We also believe that various treaty bodies should strictly observe their treaty mandates and the rules of procedure; the requirement for the content of the reports and the scope of consideration should not exceed the provisions of the relevant treaties. In the dialogue with states parties, it is imperative for the treaty bodies to adhere to the principles of fairness, objectivity and neutrality and use caution when it comes to unverified information from unreliable sources. The Chinese government will continue to support the reform of human rights treaty bodies and reporting mechanism. Meanwhile, the Chinese government hopes that OHCHR and various treaty bodies will continue to strengthen exchange and dialogue with states parties and try to achieve consensus by extensively seeking the views of states parties.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.