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BRI projects improving lives in developing nations

By Cui Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-20 09:51
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During the past decade, the Belt and Road Initiative has helped to improve human rights in countries involved in the initiative by boosting international cooperation, which has led to social and economic development, human rights experts said.

The BRI, including the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was proposed by the Chinese government in 2013. It has committed to enhancing the inclusiveness and sustainability of development, paying attention to less-developed countries and regions, and prioritizing poverty alleviation, employment as well as the improvement of people's livelihoods, Zuo Feng, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the China Foundation for Human Rights Development, said on Tuesday.

He made the remarks during a symposium entitled "Joint Building of the Belt & Road and Progress of Global Human Rights Cause" on the sidelines of the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

"Ten years on, over 3,000 cooperation projects have been launched, involving close to $1 trillion in investment. The BRI has injected strong impetus into the development of participating countries, created many jobs and helped tens of thousands of people get out of poverty," Zuo said.

The BRI is conducive to resolving development imbalance, governance difficulties, digital divide, distribution gap, and other issues, allowing more countries and people to share the benefits of development, and better protecting and promoting human rights, he added.

Zhang Wei, executive deputy director of China University of Political Science and Law's Institute for Human Rights, said the BRI has encouraged openness and stimulates growth. It has also enabled the efficient allocation of resources and led to a higher degree of market integration.

Reliable infrastructure is crucial to spurring economic growth. Through the BRI, developing countries around the world are acquiring massive Chinese-backed loans to fund infrastructure projects with the hope that increased trade opportunities will soon follow. More importantly, the people in countries involved in the initiative can benefit from better roads, hospitals, schools and other income-generating infrastructure, Zhang said.

"We are very happy to see the local people can enjoy their better human rights with the help of BRI projects. The BRI is a good example of taking steps through international economic cooperation to achieve progressively the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights," Zhang said.

Shang Haiming, an associate professor of the Human Rights Research Institute of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, said at the symposium that China has also attached great importance to promoting environmental protection in BRI projects.

"Besides protecting the environment during the construction of BRI projects such as roads and railways, China has also helped to promote the use of sustainable energy in countries involved in the initiative, which has helped to cut carbon emissions globally," Shang said.

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