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Human rights used as political tool, say experts

By CUI JIA | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-07-28 09:31
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Villagers learn to make handcrafts at Kurti Village, Sarhulsun Township, Altay City of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Jan 30, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Unilateral sanctions, which are often seen as a common and easy-to-use political tool by some countries, have an enormous negative impact on the world's human rights development, a United Nations special rapporteur has said.

Nearly all human rights, including the right to development and achieving sustainable development goals, will be affected by unilateral sanctions, Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, said at the 2022 Beijing Forum on Human Rights on Tuesday.

"No supreme goals can justify the use of unilateral coercive measures which, in reality, result in multiplied mortality rates, reduced life expectancy and quality of life, and an increase in food insecurity, hunger, poverty, higher school dropout rates and the isolation of countries and of people," Douhan said at the forum hosted by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development.

Unfortunately, unilateral sanctions will still be viewed as a common and easy-to-use political tool, she added.

In recent years, the United States has imposed a series of sanctions on business entities that are linked with the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in the name of so-called concerns of forced labor and genocide. Although the Chinese government has denied such allegations on many occasions and presented the actual situation in Xinjiang to the world, the US continues to enforce the sanctions.

The Chinese government has repeatedly stated that the move is clearly to restrain China's development. What's more, Xinjiang people's right to development has been negatively affected by the unjustifiable sanctions.

The US openly states that it has focused on human rights issues in the countries that are worth the attention, which has shown its intention of undermining competitors in the name of human rights protection, said Huang Mengfu, chairman of the China Foundation for Human Rights Development.

"Certain countries choose to politicize and weaponize human rights issues and then gain by attacking targeted countries. Meanwhile, they have turned a blind eye on acts of human rights violations in their own countries and of close allies," Huang said.

Douhan said human rights can only be protected and achieved if cooperation, dialogue, the rule of law, as well as the prohibition of discrimination and of double standards are applied by every state and every international organization as grounds for international relations.

Meanwhile, the US puts forward a purely artificial and formal definition of human rights that doesn't deal with the most important issues confronting real human beings, said John Ross, a senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of Renmin University of China. Ross is a former director of economic and business policy for the mayor of London.

"Over 1 million Americans who are dead would be alive if their government had been as successful as China in containing the COVID-19 pandemic. And over 4 million Chinese are alive who would be dead if China had the same failure level as the US," Ross said.

It's a profound attack from the US on the most important of all human rights-to be alive, he added.

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