Archive for the 'China' Category

China should release immediately Ilham Tohti

On January 15th, 2014, China, a newly-elected UN Human Rights Council member, arrested distinguished Uyghur scholar and activist Ilham Tohti without specific charges, drawing swift condemnation from the United States and European Union. The U.S. State Department lambasted the arrest as “part of a disturbing pattern of arrests and detentions of public interest lawyers, Internet activists, journalists, religious leaders and others who peacefully challenge official Chinese policies and actions.” EU Ambassador to China, Markus Ederer, criticized the “overall tightening of the human rights situation” and called for Mr. Tohti’s release “if [the] charges cannot be substantiated” under law.

Ilham Tohti, an economics professor who has taught at Beijing’s Minzu University, was known for his nonviolent perspectives.

More than thirty officials ransacked Mr. Tohti’s home for two hours, later arresting and strip searching several of his students. Mr. Tohti’s mother, wife, and two young sons remain confined under house arrest. China has refused to divulge Mr. Tohti’s whereabouts and his current status is unknown.
By serving at the UN Human Rights Council, China has committed to “uphold the highest standards of human rights.” Regrettably, its actions show little respect to its international obligations, the United Nations, human rights and the rule of law.

UN Watch calls for Mr. Tohti’s immediate and unconditional release and his safe return to his family members.

Continue reading ‘China should release immediately Ilham Tohti’

China & Cuba elected to oversee UN democracy-building

hypocrisy-meter-2

Dictatorships China and Cuba just took their new seats on the Executive Board of UNDP, whose stated priority is “Building democratic societies.” The tyrannies will help oversee UN democracy promotion through 2016.

Iran’s murderous and misogynistic  regime is already a member, and will continue helping UNDP to “Empower women” through 2015.

Below: Watch Chinese dissident Yang Jianli and Cuban dissident Rosa Maria Paya oppose their countries’ election to the UN Human Rights Council.

UN Invites Rep of Genocidal Sudan to Train Chinese Diplomats

The UN brought a representative of Sudan’s genocidal regime to train Beijing diplomats on China’s “role and opportunities within the United Nations.”

On 13-14 January, 2014, UNITAR, the UN Institute for Training and Research, held a conference in Shanghai, entitled “Transformative Global Governance: China & the United Nations.”

One of the UN’s invited speakers was Ali Al Sadig, director of the “Training and Capacity-Building Department” of Sudan’s foreign ministry. Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir is wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court.

 

Another of the UN’s invited speakers was Idriss Jazaïry, the former Algerian representative to the Human Rights Council who famously eroded that body’s ability to confront tyrannies, intimidated NGOs, and denied that anti-Semitism was against Jews. See here and here. Continue reading ‘UN Invites Rep of Genocidal Sudan to Train Chinese Diplomats’

How abusers trumpet their HRC election to silence dissent

On November 12, the UN General Assembly elected 14 new members for the Human Rights Council. Among the 14 elected were 6 countries that UN Watch evaluated as unqualified for membership: Algeria, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Vietnam. Their newfound membership of the UN’s top human rights body will be yet another occasion for these abusers to spew propaganda and silence dissidents and civil society – often the only ones who dare to tell the truth about these regimes. Since Tuesday’s election, members of the respective governments and representative of their UN Missions have commented on the election explaining that their victories were due to the international recognition of their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.

China

“The Chinese government attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights. It has made remarkable achievements and has vigorously developed international cooperation in the field of human rights …China is fully qualified to be elected as a member of the UN Human Rights Council. China’s election to the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday also serves as the international community’s acknowledgment of China’s significant achievements in the field of human rights.”

Wang Min, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, 13 November 2013 (Source)

Cuba

“Cuba’s selection is nothing less than a recognition of its consistent stance of rejecting double standards and the persistent efforts by Western powers to use the Council for political ends, to manipulate the issue of human rights in service of its interests and to convert this body into an inquisitor tribunal for the nations of the (global) South who don’t submit to their designs.”

Anayansi Rodriquez, Cuba’s UN ambassador in Geneva, 13 November 2013 (Source)

Saudi Arabia

“The Kingdom’s election to the Human Rights Council for the third time in a row is yet another confirmation of its pioneering role in the council and the service of human rights issues.”

Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Ma’alami, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, 12 November 2013 (Source)

“This election confirms the Kingdom’s efforts in the enhancement of justice, equality and the protection and promotion of human rights at both domestic and international arenas, as well as the Kingdom’s firm positions towards issues of fair human rights in the world … This election confirms the Kingdom’s prestigious status and international respect and recognition for its roles in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

Dr Al-Aiban, President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, 13 November 2013 (Source)

Russia

“The UN election was a ‘good result.’ We will work in order to strengthen cooperation and dialogue and create constructive working atmosphere in the council.”

Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, 12 November 2013 (Source)

“This is sound evidence that the international community supports our country’s policy of strengthening the collective base of the U.N. work in encouraging and protection of the human rights.”

Russian Foreign Ministry, 13 November 2013 (Source)


Vietnam

“This determination reflects the Vietnamese Party and State’s view of human rights as a common aspiration of human being as well as their consistent policy of respecting and ensuring human rights, and enhancing international cooperation in this field … Vietnam’s election to the UNHRC with the highest vote is of great significance. It shows the international community’s acknowledgement and appreciation of Vietnam’s policies and achievements in its comprehensive renewal process, including the building of a state of law that offers a better guarantee of citizens’ rights.”

Pham Binh Minh, Foreign Minister of Vietnam, 13 November 2013 (Source)

Why China should not be elected to the UN Rights Council – by Chen Guangcheng

Today the UN will elect 14 out of 16 candidate countries to be new members of its top human rights body. UN Watch heads an international campaign of MPs and NGOs urging nations to oppose the election of Algeria, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. The other candidates are France, Macedonia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Uruguay. Click here for UN Watch’s comprehensive report, analysis and comment.

Following are the remarks of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, delivered at UN headquarters on November 4, 2013, at a press conference organized by UN Watch and the Human Right Foundation.

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It is very good to be here today to discuss with all of you whether China’s authoritative powers qualify it to join the UN committee. So actually the reasons to oppose such a dictatorial power from entering the committee, and the reason to oppose this is very simple. It is something all of you will be able to understand.
If you allow such an authoritative dictatorial power to enter the committee, then isn’t it very clear that all of you will see it? The reason they want to enter into this committee is very obviously not to promote human rights, they are using this opportunity to prevent other democratic countries from questioning their human rights record.
For a country that does not even honor the UN constitution, for them to enter into this committee to judge the human rights situations in other countries, I think that this does not hold.
Beijing signed the UN Human Rights constitution in 1998 but it has not been ratified in those 15 years, so through all of this, the situation is very clear.

Why China should not be elected to the UN Rights Council – by Yang Jianli

Today the UN will elect 14 out of 16 candidate countries to be new members of its top human rights body. UN Watch heads an international campaign of MPs and NGOs urging nations to oppose the election of Algeria, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. The other candidates are France, Macedonia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Uruguay. Click here for UN Watch’s comprehensive report, analysis and comment.

Following are the remarks of Chinese dissident Yang Jianli, delivered at UN headquarters on November 4, 2013, at a press conference organized by UN Watch and the Human Right Foundation.

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Democracies: The Vote That Will Test
Your Commitment to Democracy

At about 9:00pm, September 24, I was on the phone with Ms. Zhang Jing in China, the wife of the street vendor Xia Junfeng. Four years ago, Xia Junfeng, acting in self-defense, stabbed two para-police who were beating him and taking his things. She and their son had just had the last meeting with Xia Junfeng who was that morning notified he was to be executed the same day. She cried to me for help. At the same time, the online community expressed its outrage over the imminent execution, yet nobody could figure out how to save Xia’s life, which would be taken away in roughly an hour.  I was in such a hurry to search for any clues from all the business cards of those parliamentary and executive leaders I knew in the world democracies, although I knew it would be almost impossible for any of them to do anything about it.

Top EU Legislators Appeal Against UNHRC Candidacies of China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam

Appeal Against Unworthy UN Human Rights Candidacies

Excellency,

We, the undersigned members of parliament, human rights activists and non-governmental organizations, call on you to publicly oppose the candidacies of Algeria, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, for seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council, elections for which will be held on November 12, 2013. We urge you to take action to defeat these manifestly unworthy candidacies, which threaten to cast a shadow upon the reputation of the Council—and of the United Nations as a whole.

Candidates for the UN Human Rights Council, according to General Assembly Resolution 60/251, are supposed to be countries that “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

Yet it is widely recognized that Algeria, China, Cuba Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam fail to meet these basic membership criteria. They have poor if not abysmal records on human rights protection at home, and on human rights promotion at the UN.

Rather than giving these non-democratic governments influence over vital decision on human rights, we urge you to introduce resolutions at the United Nations to hold these nations accountable, and to condemn their gross and systematic human rights violations.

Silence is complacency. For the sake of millions of victims worldwide who need a credible and effective international human rights body, please do not be silent.

Sincerely,

Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP
European Parliament Vice-President for Human Rights & Democracy

Elmar Brok, MEP
Chair of Committee on Foreign Affairs, European Parliament

Guy Verhofstadt, MEP
Leader of Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)
Former Prime Minister of Belgium

Continue reading ‘Top EU Legislators Appeal Against UNHRC Candidacies of China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam’

Human Rights Politicized at UN: Hillel Neuer on CTV

Sounding the alarm:  in an interview on Canada’s CTV, UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer calls on the U.S. and the EU to end their silence over the UN’s planned election next week of the world’s worst abusers to its highest human rights body.

Democracies kept silent as Lui Xiaobo remains in prison

On Tuesday, October 22, when China’s human rights record was reviewed by the UN, sadly, none of the democracies spoke out for imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate Lui Xiaobo, who remains in prison since 2008, solely on his political views.  Only one country –Canada– spoke out against China’s imprisonment of political dissidents and recommended China to release all political prisoners.

Amidst the wide praise of China’s record, it is disappointing that the name of Lui Xiaobo was not mentioned during the three and a half hour session. Lui Xiaobo, a professor and human rights activist, has called for political reform and an end to single-party rule. Democracies wasted a unique opportunity to put a spotlight on China’s oppression of dissent and make concrete recommendations that could have an impact.

China presented a 30-page report on its human rights record, which was followed by a three-hour “interactive dialogue,” with over 130 delegations making statements and Chinese delegates periodically responding. The exercise is known as the “Universal Periodic Review” (UPR), which examines every UN member state once every four and a half years.

Front groups set tone for tomorrow’s UN review of China’s rights record

Cuba, Venezuela, Sri Lanka support phony Chinese NGO event

GENEVA, Oct. 21, 2013 – On the eve of the UN Human Rights Council’s review of China’s human rights record, a panel was held today at UNHRC headquarters by Chinese “non-governmental” organizations, who showered China with praise for its supposed civil society progress.

It has become commonplace at the United Nations for authoritarian governments to accredit front groups as NGOs, who then take the floor or organize side to influence UN debates on the country concerned. They are known as phony NGOs, or “GONGOs” — government-run NGOs.

Today’s phony NGO panel  was organized by “China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE),” a UN-accredited NGO.

They were joined by the “China Association for NPO (non-profit organizations),” the “Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Hebei Province,” and the “China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture and China Ethnic Minorities Association for External Exchanges.”

Panelists spoke of the “booming and changing” development of NGOs in China, claiming there are 506,000 social organizations and one to three million grass-roots NGOs active in China today. These promote economic development by focusing on education, social service, agriculture, ecological environment, law and religion, it was said. These organizations exercise autonomy as long as they work in accordance with the law and that the functions of the government are separated from those of social organizations.

At the end of the presentation, as if on cue, diplomats from Cuba, Venezuela and Sri Lanka – major allies of the Chinese regime — took the floor to praised the Chinese GONGOs for their active civil society. Cuba reaffirmed the importance of having such a genuine dialogue about civil society in China, and commended the government and people of China for all that has been done in the field of human rights.

China’s pledges to the United Nations for Human Rights Council bid

The biggest lie of the year — because it is an official lie to the United Nations that affects the daily lives of 1.3 billion people — is China’s UNHRC pledge for 2014-2016.

Aide-memoire

The Government of the People’s Republic of China has decided to present its candidature for the election to the Human Rights Council for the term 2014-2016, which will be held in New York during the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly.

The Chinese Government is committed to the promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese people, and has worked unremittingly towards this goal. Although the international financial crisis has had a considerable negative impact, the Chinese Government has persisted in the peopleoriented scientific outlook on development, combined handling of the international financial crisis with the protection of human rights and carried out a series of measures to maintain economic growth, promote reforms and improve the livelihood of people. The past few years have witnessed new achievements in the promotion and protection of human rights. The pledges and commitments made in its last campaign have been fulfilled, as follows:

(a) Promulgating and implementing the first national human rights action plan (2009-2010). All targets have been achieved according to the final assessment report;

(b) Investing 4 trillion yuan to cope with the financial crisis. Great efforts have been made to promote programmes related the well-being of the people, including low-income housing projects, rural infrastructure and medical and health-care services;

(c) Establishing a nationwide framework for basic medical and health-care systems;

(d) Providing safe drinking water for 122 million rural residents;

(e) Completing the three-year recovery and reconstruction programmes in areas devastated by the massive Wenchuan earthquake. The basic living conditions and economic development level in disaster areas have reached or exceeded those before the earthquake;

(f) Gradually putting in place a system that ensures payment for rural migrant workers and increasing the minimum wage by a big margin;

(g) Promulgating the national medium- and long-term plan for educational reform and development, with nine years of compulsory education for the entire nation;

(h) Adopting 30 laws and regulations closely related to human rights;

(i) Establishing a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, which ensures that there are laws to abide by in economic, political, cultural and social development;

(j) Revising the Electoral Law to elect deputies to the people’s congresses based on the same population ratio in urban and rural areas;

(k) Advancing the reform of the judicial system. Judicial organs continue to strengthen the prudent application of the death penalty. Criminal law has been amended to abolish the death penalty for 13 types of economic and non-violent crimes;

(l) Implementing standardized sentencing reforms on a trial basis in courts at all levels throughout the country, regulating the use of discretionary power in criminal cases;

(m) Disclosing court-trial information;

(n) Issuing the regulation on the exclusion of illegal evidence in criminal cases to guarantee the rights of the criminal suspects;

(o) Expanding citizens’ participation in political affairs in an orderly manner, ensuring citizens’ rights to be informed of government affairs and to express their opinion. The number of Internet users has exceeded 500 million;

(p) Further guaranteeing the rights to employment and economic resources,

and equal participation in State and social affairs by minority ethnic groups, women and other special groups;

(q) Basically establishing a bilingual education mode that suits the language environment and educational conditions of ethnic groups;

(r) Improving rehabilitation services for people with disabilities.

China has earnestly fulfilled its obligations under the international human rights conventions to which it has acceded. For example, it submits reports on implementation in a timely manner to relevant treaty bodies, including the second report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the third and fourth combined report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the first report on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Chinese Government continues to participate actively and constructively in the work of the Human Rights Council and in its special session as well as the universal periodic review. China has maintained good cooperation with the human rights special procedures, responded in a timely manner to the communications transmitted by them and received the Special Rapporteur on the right to food in December 2010.

China attaches great importance to the role of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), has made annual donations to provide support for its work and has maintained good cooperation with the Office. China continues to conduct bilateral human rights dialogues and consultations with nearly 20 countries and regions based on equality and mutual respect.

China is a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion persons. Development between its rural and urban areas and among different regions is uneven. Therefore, much work remains to be done in the field of human rights. The Chinese Government has introduced effective measures to promote scientific development and social harmony, and strived for a happier life with more dignity for its people. The Chinese Government has formulated the twelfth five-year plan for national economic and social development. It clearly stipulates action plans for the improvement of the livelihood of people to ensure that all people share the fruits of reform and development. Currently, China is drafting the new national human rights action plan (2012-2015) based on the twelfth five-year plan.

The Chinese Government wishes to take this opportunity to make the following solemn pledges:

(1) To exert efforts to improve the livelihood of people, ensuring their economic, social and cultural rights. China will give high priority to promoting employment, raising the proportion of national income distributed to individuals, increasing the proportion of wages in the primary distribution of income and reversing the widening income gap trend. China will improve the system of subsistence allowances for both urban and rural residents, gradually expand the scope of social welfare and improve national welfare, with a focus on providing support for the elderly, assisting the disabled, aiding the orphans and helping the poor. China will improve the basic medical and health system, covering both urban and rural areas, realize full coverage under the new old-age insurance system for rural residents and implement the national health action plan. China will make efforts to establish a housing supply system, in which the Government mainly provides a basic guarantee and the market meets multilevel needs. China will persist in giving priority to the implementation of the strategy of large-scale development of the western region in the country’s overall regional development scheme and provide special policy support for the western region. China will allocate public education resources rationally, giving preferential treatment to rural, remote, poor and ethnic minority areas, so as to rapidly narrow the education gap;

(2) To continue to strengthen the development of democracy and the rule of law, improve institutions for democracy, push forward the reform of the judicial system and further protect civil and political rights. China will improve institutions for democracy, diversify its forms, expand its channels and practise democratic elections, decision-making, administration and oversight in accordance with the law, and protect the rights of the people to be informed of, participate in, express views about and oversee government affairs. China will stick to the policy of ensuring freedom of religious belief. China will comprehensively implement the fundamental principle of the rule of law, persist in scientific and democratic legislation, and improve the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics.

China will consolidate the reform of the judicial system, optimize the distribution of judicial functions and powers, standardize judicial practices and build a just, effective and authoritative judicial system. China will continue to push forward the work on the revision of the Criminal Procedure Law and the Civil Procedure Law, improve coordination between the administrative law enforcement and criminal justice systems, and push forward law-based government administration and impartial and fair law enforcement. China will implement the sixth five-year plan to educate the public about the law. China will actively improve the system for transparency in government affairs and strengthen the restraint and oversight of the exercise of power;

(3) To further protect the rights and interests of minority ethnic groups, women, children and persons with disabilities. China will guarantee the lawful rights and interests of ethnic minorities, promote ethnic unity through publicity and education, and reinforce and develop ethnic relations, featuring equality, unity, mutual support and harmony. China will strengthen maternal and child health-care programmes, increase the proportion of women who receive vocational education and training, and eliminate gender discrimination in employment. China will improve the basic medical care system, covering children in both rural and urban areas, ensure access by children to higher quality education, expand the coverage of  the child welfare system and improve the legal system and institutions for the protection of children. China will implement the outline for the development of Chinese women (2011-2020) and the outline for the development of Chinese children (2011-2020). China will expedite the development of a social services system for the elderly, foster and strengthen the industry that provides old-age services and intensify the development of non-profit old-age service facilities. China will improve the social security and services system for people with disabilities, work hard to provide employment service and vocational training for the disabled, and enrich the life of the disabled in the areas of culture and sports;

(4) To continue to take an active part in the work of the Human Rights Council and the Third Committee of the General Assembly, and encourage United Nations human rights agencies to deal with human rights issues in a fair, objective and non-selective manner. China will earnestly fulfil its obligations set out in the international human rights conventions to which it has acceded, submit reports on implementation in a timely manner, and receive considerations by relevant treaty bodies, including the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. China will be ready for the second round of the universal periodic review and engage in constructive dialogue with other countries. China will continue to cooperate with human rights special procedures, respond in a timely manner to the communications transmitted by them, carefully consider the requests to visit of the special rapporteurs, bearing in mind its receiving capability and the balance between civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights. China will continue to conduct international exchanges and cooperate on human rights, and carry out bilateral human rights dialogues and consultations with relevant countries and regions in line with the principle of equality and mutual respect. China will continue to carry out technical cooperation on human rights with OHCHR.

The full realization of human rights is an important goal of China in building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and a harmonious socialist society. China is ready to work with the rest of the international community to better protect and promote human rights in China and promote the sound development of international human rights undertakings. China will make unremitting efforts to build a harmonious society of enduring peace and common prosperity.

China to Head UN’s Worst Failed Agency

Although China‘s state-controlled media is boasting of Vice Finance Minister Li Yong’s election yesterday as Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO arguably ranks as the worst of the world body’s failed agencies.

Last month, UNIDO selected Iran to head its Program and Budget Committee.

Among other achievements, UNIDO appears to hold the world record of canceled memberships: Continue reading ‘China to Head UN’s Worst Failed Agency’

UN fact-finding mission to Tibet?

I just received the press release below from a Tibetan activist group. The long-suffering Tibetan people desperately need the world’s help. Sadly, however, the chances that the U.N. will send a fact-finding mission to investigate China’s abuses in Tibet are between zero and nil.

Dissidents propose draft resolutions for world’s ignored emergencies

The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy took place on March 13, 2012, organized by UN Watch and an international coalition of 20 NGOs. The Summit, which ran in parallel to the main session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, produced alternative draft resolutions for the Council to consider. These deal with urgent human rights situaitons that have so far been ignored by the international community. These are:

China-Uyghur Clash: UN Watch Summit Speech Prescient

In an operation aimed at countering “violent terrorists,” Chinese government authorities killed seven “kidnappers” who were trying to leave the country to attend “foreign jihad camps” – but had stopped along the way to take two hostages.

That’s the official Chinese backstory – presented at a press conference this week – to a Dec. 28 shootout in the restive province of Xinjiang, where indigenous Muslim Uyghurs are struggling to preserve their culture in the face of a still-rising presence of Han Chinese.

Uyghur exiles give a different account of the shootout, which also left one police officer dead. They say police opened fire when locals clashed with officers during a demonstration outside the police bureau to protest a recent security crackdown.

Branding Uyghurs as “terrorists” when they’re involved in clashes with China’s authorities fits a pattern that Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent Uyghur businesswoman and human rights activist, outlined in detail when she spoke at UN Watch’s “We Have a Dream” human rights summit in New York in September. Continue reading ‘China-Uyghur Clash: UN Watch Summit Speech Prescient’

Rights of Women in China, Saudi Arabia and Iran

UN Watch Testimony to UN Human Rights Council, Agenda Item 3, delivered by Alexia Bedat, 15 September 2011

Thank you, Madam President.

Under Articles 2, 5 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, women are guaranteed equal treatment under the law and protection from degrading treatment. Today we ask: Is this promise being translated into practice?

To find the answer, we must see reality from the perspective of real women on the ground. Let us consider three concrete examples:

1. China. According to a panel of experts including US Congressman Chris Smith, as a result of the “One child policy,” every 2.4 seconds a woman in China undergoes a forced abortion.  Xiao Ai Ying is one of these women. Last year, eight months into her pregnancy, twelve government officials broke into her home, brutally kicked her in the stomach and dragged her screaming to the hospital.  Madam President, isn’t China a member of this Council, and therefore pledged to the highest standards of human rights? Continue reading ‘Rights of Women in China, Saudi Arabia and Iran’

China: Time to Free Dr. Wang Binghzhang

This op-ed about jailed Chinese dissident Dr. Wang Binghzhang—written by Cambridge University law student Gabriel Latner, a recent intern with UN Watch—appears in today’s National Post of Canada. In March, UN Watch and its partners brought Dr. Wang’s daughter, 21-year-old McGill University student Ti-Anna Wang, to testify at the 2011 Geneva Summit: click for video. A week later, UN Watch, represented by Mr. Latner, raised the case of Dr. Wang in the plenary of the UN Human Rights Council. The Chinese government tried to silence UN Watch: click for video. Mr. Latner is already known to many for his winning speech from the October 21, 2010 Cambridge Union debate—”Why Israel is a rogue state”—which went viral on the internet.

China interrupts UN testimony of ex-political prisoner; USA defends Yang Jianli

Dr. Yang Jianli

GENEVA, March 15 – The Chinese government today interrupted testimony by one of its most well-known former political prisoners in the plenary of the UN Human Rights Council. The Chinese delegate, supported by Cuba, objected that Dr. Yang Jianli, who spoke on behalf of the Geneva human rights group UN Watch, was not addressing the issue under debate, which was “human rights situations that require the council’s attention.”

The U.S. delegate intervened to defend Dr. Yang’s right to speak, and the council president allowed him to complete his speech. See full text below of print version as delivered to the UN. Continue reading ‘China interrupts UN testimony of ex-political prisoner; USA defends Yang Jianli’

24 NGOs Urge U.N. Rights Chief to Attend Oslo Nobel Ceremony and Show Support for Chinese Dissident

GENEVA, December 9, 2010 – An international coalition of 24 human rights and non-governmental organizations appealed today to U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay to reverse her decision to skip Friday’s Nobel award ceremony for imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

“We urge the High Commissioner to go to Oslo, attend the award ceremony, and convene a press conference that will spotlight the plight of the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens who are systematically denied the basic guarantees of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said the statement.

Led by the Geneva-based rights group UN Watch, the signatories include the World Movement for Democracy from the U.S., SOS Racisme of France, and activist organizations from India, Venezuela and Liberia.

“The world spotlight in Oslo tomorrow will be exceptional — it’s a golden opportunity that the U.N. should not squander,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. Continue reading ’24 NGOs Urge U.N. Rights Chief to Attend Oslo Nobel Ceremony and Show Support for Chinese Dissident’

Joint NGO Appeal for UN Solidarity With Chinese Dissident Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Laureate

The undersigned human rights and non-governmental organizations pay tribute to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo on his being selected to receive the Nobel Peace Prize award.

We regret that, as claimed by China, 18 nations are supporting its boycott of the award ceremony tomorrow in Oslo.  We fully reject China’s attempt to describe this courageous champion of human rights as “subversive and criminal,” and its denunciation of the award as an “obscenity”. On the contrary, no award could be more fitting on international Human Rights Day.

We further regret to learn that the Norwegian Nobel Committee confirmed that U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has also declined to attend, as reported by Radio Australia.

We urge the High Commissioner to go to Oslo, attend the award ceremony, and convene a press conference that will spotlight the plight of the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens who are systematically denied the basic guarantees of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

NGO Urges U.N. Rights Chief to Attend Nobel Ceremony & Not “Kowtow” to China

GENEVA, December 6, 2010 – A Geneva-based human rights group urged U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay to “do the right thing” and reverse her decision to skip Friday’s Nobel award ceremony for imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, saying that the Oslo event took “clear precedence” over a minor Geneva ceremony that her office claims requires her presence.

“Because High Commissioner Pillay is the U.N.’s highest authority on human rights, her presence in Oslo would send a powerful signal that the systematic violation of basic rights suffered by 1.3 billion citizens of China-one sixth of the world’s population-is not forgotten by the world. Beijing’s powerful U.N. influence should never justify silence or reticence by the world body’s highest officials,” said Hillel Neuer, an international lawyer and executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental organization in Geneva that monitors the world body’s human rights system.

Continue reading ‘NGO Urges U.N. Rights Chief to Attend Nobel Ceremony & Not “Kowtow” to China’

British MP Denis MacShane Endorses UN Watch Campaign to Release Liu Xiaobo

liuxiaobo-thumb.jpgBritish MP Denis MacShane has endorsed UN Watch’s campaign calling on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to press China to release political prisoner Liu Xiaobo.

Mr. MacShane has also tabled his own motion in the House of Commons, issuing the following statement:

“David Cameron should support President Obama’s appeal to Beijing to release China’s Sakharov. William Hague has said that trade relations should have priority for UK foreign policy but it cannot be right to buy cheap t-shirts from China while ignoring Liu Xiabow rotting in prison for the crime of signing  an appeal for constitutional democract. In the name of trade and money Britain has turned a blind eye to the repression of Chinese citizens asking for rights we take for granted. Mrs Thatcher was willing to condemn Soviet communism for imprisoning dissidents like Sakharov. Mr Cameron should now tell it as it is about Chinese communism and its suppression of its citizens who challenge one-party rule.”

UN chiefs fail to call for Chinese prisoner’s release

Ban Ki-moon praised China’s “remarkable advances”

GENEVA, October 11, 2010 – A Geneva-based human rights group welcomed today’s call by four UN experts for China to release Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo from prison, and urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN rights chief Navi Pillay to echo the appeal.

“The UN’s two leading voices on human rights issues need to be clear and immediately call on China to release Mr. Liu,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

In their remarks published by the UN on Friday, China was praised for its “remarkable” advances, yet Mr. Ban and Ms. Pillay “glaringly omitted to call for the dissident’s release, or even to say a word about the fact that he is currently in prison,” said Neuer.

In the two years since her appointment in September 2008 as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Pillay has only issued two statements on China, including one in 2009 that dealt with Mr. Liu, said UN Watch. The non-governmental organization monitors the world body’s human rights system.

“There are 1.3 billion people in China-one sixth of the world’s population-who are subjected to the systematic deprivation of universal human rights. Beijing’s power and influence at the UN should never justify silence or reticence by the UN’s highest officials, especially those charged with being a voice for the voiceless and with defending victims of human rights violations,” said Neuer.�

38 Rights Groups Urge U.N. to Investigate Shanghai Expo Eviction of 18,000 Families

Geneva, July 22 -  An international coalition of 38 human rights groups called on the United Nations today to investigate allegations that the Chinese government committed gross human rights violations by forcibly evicting 18,000 families to make way for the current 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China. The giant exposition, whose motto is “Better Cities, Better Life,” runs until October.

The non-governmental organizations filed appeals with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Habitat director Anna Tibaijuka, and U.N. housing rights investigator Raquel Rolnik, arguing that China breached four articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by violating housing rights and denying evictees the right to protest. Criticism of the land grab was reported recently in the New York Times and the Washington Times. Continue reading ’38 Rights Groups Urge U.N. to Investigate Shanghai Expo Eviction of 18,000 Families’

Ban Ki-Moon asked why U.N. won’t meet Dalai Lama in Geneva

UN Watch’s revelation yesterday that U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay is effectively refusing to meet with the Dalai Lama on his visit to Geneva next week is now sparking international attention. Continue reading ‘Ban Ki-Moon asked why U.N. won’t meet Dalai Lama in Geneva’

UN Watch Disappointed at U.N. Rights Chief Refusal to Meet Dalai Lama

But welcomes Pillay’s criticism of China’s “systemic violations of human rights”

GENEVA, July 29, 2009 - The Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch expressed disappointment at the refusal by United Nations rights chief Navi Pillay to answer whether she will receive the Dalai Lama on his visit to Geneva next week — understood as a negative answer — but welcomed her criticism of China’s “serious systemic violations of human rights” in Tibet, and her call for due process for detainees and access to international observers. Continue reading ‘UN Watch Disappointed at U.N. Rights Chief Refusal to Meet Dalai Lama’

Rights Violating States Attempt Response to Accusations

Today at the U.N. Human Rights Council, after a number of states and NGOs accused Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, China, and North Korea of violating human rights, these countries demanded their rights of reply to respond to allegations or deflect blame by pointing to purported abuses of their critics. Continue reading ‘Rights Violating States Attempt Response to Accusations’