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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Yishan, Head of the Chinese Delegation, at ECOSOC Substantive Session on Human Rights (item 14g)
(22 July 2004)

2004/07/22


Madam Chairperson,

The Chinese delegation has carefully studied the report of the 60th session of Human Rights Commission and would like to make the following comments:

1. To promote and protect human rights is the fundamental principle and purpose of the Human Rights Commission. The Commission, as an important UN agency in the field of human rights, should serve as a forum where countries can exchange views and enhance cooperation. However, during the 60th session, certain countries, out of domestic political needs, willfully accused other countries in their statements and tabled draft resolutions against others under country specific items. Such behavior damaged the working atmosphere and the credibility of the Commission. We cannot but express our profound regrets to such fruitless political confrontation. All countries, developed or developing, have the responsibility to further promote and protect human rights. It is not such a relationship between teachers and pupils in the field of human rights. What the Commission needs is mutual respect, complementarity, reinforced cooperation and exchanges and reduced confrontation and bigotry.

2. With the development of globalization, how to ensure the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development has become an important challenge facing many developing countries. To ignore these rights is to deny the justified demands of developing countries on human rights issues. In terms of agenda item arrangement, time allocation and mechanism establishment, the Commission has failed to fully reflect the importance of economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development. We urge the Commission to make greater efforts in this regard.

3. In recent years, human rights and terrorism has become important agenda item in the Commission. This is of great importance. No matter what ways and means the terrorists adopt, they all attempt to harm innocent people's lives and safety, and constitute grave violations against human rights. The international community should therefore firmly oppose all forms of terrorism without double standard. At the same time, in combating terrorism, it is essential to follow international law, especially the international human rights and humanitarian law. Nobody should use anti-terrorism as an excuse to defy respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Madam Chairperson,

In March this year, the Chinese National People's Congress adopted the amendments to the Constitution by embodying "respect for and guarantee of human rights". This has demonstrated the strong determination of China to promote and protect human rights. Under the guidance of state policy of "putting people's interests first and governing for the people", the Chinese government will continue to make tireless efforts to raise the level of all human rights and fundamental freedoms enjoyed by the Chinese people. On the basis of equality and mutual respect, the Chinese government wishes to take an active part in the work of the Commission, strengthen its cooperation with the High Commissioner's Office for Human Rights, and continue to carry out human rights exchanges and activities with other countries, in a joint endeavor for healthy development of international human rights cause.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

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