CHINA / National

China supports UN human rights body
by China Daily
Updated: 2006-03-17 05:43

UNITED NATIONS: China supports the creation of the new UN Human Rights Council, which will strengthen the body's role in this field, Zhang Yishan, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said on Wednesday.

The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday (local time) to replace the UN's Human Rights Commission with the new council with 170 members, while only the United States, Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau voted against.

Zhang told the General Assembly: "The international community and people all over the world lay great expectations on the council.

"They all hope that the council will play its due role, and more effectively enhance all human rights and fundamental freedoms at global level," Zhang said.

Zhang pointed out that the draft resolution stresses that civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, and the right to development are interlinked and equally important.

He stressed that the draft resolution indicates that the human rights issue should be dealt with impartially and in a non-discriminatory manner to avoid double standards and politicization, and promote genuine dialogue and co-operation in the field of human rights.

"The above principles shall become guidelines for the future work of the council in order to avoid the reoccurrence of political confrontation at the Human Rights Commission," the Chinese diplomat declared.

However, he also made it clear that the draft resolution failed to fully reflect the concerns of many developing countries, including China, on some issues.

"First, it does not provide effective guarantees to prevent political confrontation caused by a country's specific resolution, which has become a chronic problem at the Commission on Human Rights," Zhang noted.

"Second, the universal periodic review to be developed by the council may overlap with the work of human rights treaty bodies and special mechanisms, thus increasing report burdens for developing countries," he said.

"Third, according to our understanding, recommendations by the council are limited to the General Assembly."

He said the Chinese side would further express its concerns during consultations after the council is established.

Zhang promised that China is ready to adopt an active and open attitude, co-operate closely with all other parties, and play an active part in the council's work.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the resolution "historic" and added: "Now the real work begins. The true test of the council's credibility will be the use that member states make of it."

US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said the United States supported Annan's original proposal for a small permanent council elected by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly to deal with its pre-eminent concern of keeping rights abusers from winning seats.

But the resolution adopted on Wednesday calls for election by an absolute majority 96 members.

(China Daily 03/17/2006 page2)


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