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Human Rights in China excluded from World Conference Against Racism

May 22, 2001

Today in Geneva UN member states decided to exclude HRIC from the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), to be held in South Africa from August 31 to September 7. After the Chinese government strongly opposed HRIC’s request to participate, and in spite of the Conference Secretariat’s favorable recommendation, the Second Preparatory Committee of the WCAR voted by a tight majority of 50 to 45, with 17 abstentions, to deny HRIC the right to participate in the Conference.

“This is a discriminatory decision, simply because HRIC is an active monitor of China’s human rights record. It is outrageous that member states allow China to enjoy special treatment within the UN,” said Xiao Qiang, HRIC’s Executive Director.

“But we want to thank all governments whose votes signalled their trust in the work done by HRIC,” Xiao added.

HRIC notes with great concern China’s successful efforts at turning what should be a “technical decision” on access to a UN World Conference into a heavily politicized process. We are particularly disappointed that a majority of South American countries decided to vote against HRIC.

We are also saddened by the position of South Africa, which voted to exclude HRIC from the Conference Against Racism. As the country hosting the Conference, neutrality is essential.

Finally, HRIC welcomes the accreditation to the WCAR of International Campaign for Tibet and Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. This decision constitutes a real breakthrough, as it is the first time Tibetan NGOs receive accreditation to a UN conference. Xiao Qiang, HRIC executive director, has accepted an invitation to be a member of the International Campaign for Tibet delegation to attend the World Conference Against Racism in August.

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