China silences UN human rights body, again
19 April, 2001: The resolution condemning China’s human rights record failed to make it to a vote at the United Nations Human Rights commission’s session in Geneva, with a “no action” motion proposed by China succeeding by 23 votes to 17, with 12 abstentions with one delegation absent. Support for the Chinese motion came mostly form African and Asian countries, but also from Russia.
Chairman Leandro Despouy of the Commission announced the result of voting on China’s motion – 23 votes in favour, 17 against, 12 abstentions with one delegation absent.
The US had tabled a resolution denouncing Beijing’s crackdown on Tibetans, repression of the spiritual movement Falun Gong and government opponents
The US and Belgium, speaking on behalf of the European Union, called for the rejection of China’s initiative to quash the debate, arguing that no country was exempt from scrutiny. But developing countries including Pakistan, Indonesia, Russia, Cuba etc., rallied to China’s side, accusing US of selectivity.
However, it is noteworthy that majority member-countries of this UN human rights body refused to support China’s procedural move of “no-action” motion. 30 out 53 members of the Commission either opposed or abstained. “The fact that majority of the Commission members from Latin America,
Eastern Europe and Western countries did not support China today sends a positive message to the victims of human rights abuses in Tibet and China,” said Kalon Tsewang C. Tethong, the Foreign Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration.
International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet (ICLT) condemned the United Nations Commission on Human Rights’ decision not to even consider a US–sponsored resolution critical of China’s worsening human rights record.
“Chinese authorities routinely torture Tibetan political prisoners, even children, our recent investigation found. Because of this vote, the torture will continue unabated and innocent men, women and children will die as a result,” said Dennis Cusack, President of ICLT.
It is the tenth time in 12 years that China has evaded censure on its human rights record at a United Nations meeting in Geneva.
The Vote Pattern on China Resolution’s “No-Action” Motion is as follows:
Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia,
Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi
Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia
Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala,
Italy, Japan, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, United
Kingdom, United States of America.
Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, South Korea,
Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Uruguay.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Tibet Bureau, Geneva
CHINA FAILS TO GET MAJORITY SUPPORT AT UN FORUM
President Jiang Zemin’s Visit to Lobby Latin American Vote Unsuccessful
Geneva, 18 April – The 57th UN Commission on Human Rights once again did not succeed to block China’s effort to avoid a debate on the human rights situation in Tibet and China. However, it is noteworthy that majority member-countries of this UN human rights body refused to support China’s procedural move of “no-action” motion. 30 out 53 members of the Commission, either opposed or abstained. “The fact that majority of the Commission members from Latin America, Eastern Europe and Western countries did not support China today sends a positive message to the victims of human rights abuses in Tibet and China,” said Kalon Tsewang C. Tethong, the Foreign Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile.
The Tibetan Government in Exile remains disappointed that the European Union and like-minded western countries failed to co-sponsor the United States resolution on China this year’s Commission. However, we welcome the Belgian statement on behalf of the European Union, against China’s procedural move, expressing concern “at the intensified repression and political campaigning and the deprivation of religious and cultural rights in Tibet and Xinjiang”. This statement delivered after China’s proposalwas in fact supported by Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta and Turkey.
The Tibetan Government in Exile remains grateful to the government of the United States of America for introducing a censure resolution on China at the UN Commission on Human Rights. Ambassador Ms. Shirin Tahir-Kheli, the Head of the US Delegation, while opposing China’s procedural move, correctly said: “The United States can see no reason for such special treatment. This is the UN Commission on Human Rights and its unique and fundamental purpose is to discuss the promotion and protection of universal human rights. To support this “no-action” motion, therefore, is to ignore the purpose for which the Commission stands.”
The Tibetan Government in Exile also remains grateful to all those governments, UN human rights mechanisms and NGOs who have raised the continued violations of human rights in Tibet at this year’s Commission session. This shows that the human rights abuses in Tibet are being documented every year at the UN. We are appreciative of the immense efforts put on by Tibetan NGOs and Tibet Support Groups, all over the world, who supported the Tibetan lobby on the China resolution.
The Tibetan Government in Exile supports dialogue to resolve human rights issues confronting the Chinese authorities. However, such dialogue should bring about tangible results in the day to day lives of the peoples concerned. This has not been achieved to date. Therefore, western governments, particularly the European Union, now need to re-asses their so-called common position on the China resolution at the Commission on Human Rights.
We call upon the Commission members not to allow China to hide behind procedural moves in the future which will deny the UN’s highest human rights forum an opportunity to debate and censure China for committing gross and systematic violations of fundamental freedoms and human rights against the peoples of China, Tibet, Eastern Turkestan and Inner Mongolia. China’s dismal human rights record is is attracting more global attention at each Commission session. This is an achievement of the global lobby
Tibet Bureau for UN Affairs