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At UN, Seven Gov’ts Voice Concerns over Human Rights Deterioration in China

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March 31, 2017

The United Nation’s main human rights body, the Human Rights Council, met for its 34th session February 27 - March 24, 2017. China was not specifically on the Council’s agenda, but governments could still make statements regarding country-specific situations under Item Four General Debate period. HRIC was in Geneva to monitor part of the session, including the General Debate, during which Canada, the Czech Republic, the European Union, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States delivered oral statements expressing concern about the human rights situation in China. Below are the statements as orally delivered, listed in the order of delivery.

Human Rights Council 34th Session
Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention (click
here to listen to live webcast)

European Union, March 14, 2017

“In China, while acknowledging the progress made on a number of areas of human development, including the elimination of poverty, the EU continues to be concerned about the arrest, detention and conviction of human rights defenders and lawyers and the reported harassment of their families. The EU reiterates its call for the immediate release of all individuals detained for their human rights activities, not least Liu Xiaobo, Ilham Tohti, Xie Yang, Jiang Tianyong, Li Heping and Wang Quanzhang and Tashi Wangchuk. The EU calls upon China to ensure transparency and respect for due process in the cases of detained human rights lawyers. The EU is particularly worried about the recent allegations of mistreatment and torture under detention, which should be thoroughly investigated by the authorities. The EU urges China to implement its law on the Management of Foreign NGO Activities in ways that do not hamper the development of independent civil society. The EU also calls upon China to respect cultural diversity and freedom of religion, not least in Tibet and Xinjiang.”

United Kingdom, March 14, 2017
*Aligned itself with the EU’s statement

“The UK is concerned by the continued detention of Chinese human rights lawyers and defenders and calls for a transparent and independent legal process in all cases. We remain concerned by reports of ongoing restrictions on religious freedoms and discrimination against minority groups.”

Germany, March 14, 2017

“Germany remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation in China. Throughout the country, in particular in the Western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, human rights abuses remain widespread. Human rights defenders and lawyers often face arbitrary detention and other violations of their human rights. In many cases, also their families face harassments. We closely follow a growing number of cases, including those of JIANG Tianyong, XIE Yang, Tashi Wangchuk and WU Gan. We urge China to respect fundamental rights and rule of law and immediately release all detained human rights defenders.

United States, March 14, 2017

“We remain concerned about reports of China’s arbitrary detention and torture of lawyers and activists, as well as its general ongoing efforts to silence criticism, unduly constrain civil society and religious practices and deny rights to Tibetans and Uyghurs.”

Czech Republic, March 14, 2017

“We are convinced that there is no effective protection and promotion of human rights when civil society organizations and human rights defenders are stifled, which is a sad reality in many parts of the world. The abduction and detention of human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong is yet another attack on those defending human rights of others in China.”

Canada, March 14, 2017

“Troubling developments in several other countries raise questions of countries’ broader commitments to human rights and the rule of law. Of particular concern to Canada is a trend towards increasing limitations to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including through new legislation and pre-emptive arrest and incarceration by authorities. Ongoing and new detention and sentencing of lawyers and human rights defenders in countries such as China create an environment of impunity. At a time when human rights are increasingly under threat, we should ensure that all countries, including Council members, uphold the highest standards of human rights.”

France, March 15, 2017

“France is also alarmed over attacks and threats being brought to bear against civil society and the activities of human rights defenders—above all in China, Turkey, Venezuela, and Russia. I would also like to recall our deep concern about the consistent use of the death penalty, particularly in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq and the United States.”

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