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Presentation by Dr. Li Xiaomei, Special Representative for Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China at the Side Event on the Negative Impact of UCMs

2022-10-12 18:00

His Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

Dear fellow Panelists and Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon. At the outset, I would like to congratulate the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations for organizing this important event right before the Third Committee of the General Assembly starts to consider the agenda item of human rights. China is a member of the Group, proudly.

And I would also like to express my sincere thanks to H.E. Ambassador Samuel Moncada, Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations, for inviting me to speak and share China’s views on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures (UCMs). I flew half the earth to catch up today’s event. And it has been a long but meaningful journey.

My special thanks also go to Professor Alena Douhan, Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights, for her valuable and hard work to raise awareness on the negative impact of UCMs globally, and especially her alert on new tendencies and challenges of cyber sanctions in her report presented to current session of the General Assembly.

His Excellencies,

Dear Colleagues,

Our world is facing interlocking global challenges with developing countries disproportionately affected, especially after COVID-19. An effective and functional multilateral system based on international solidarity, unity and cooperation is urgently needed, more than ever. In spite of all the grave hardship and challenges, developing countries and their people continue to fall victims to unilateral coercive measures imposed by those certain developed countries. Any promulgation and application of UCMs should be condemned in strongest terms possible. Here I would like to elaborate more:

From the legal perspective, and relevant General Assembly and Human Rights Council resolution states, the laws, regulations and decisions imposing unilateral coercive measure have, in some instances, an extraterritorial effect not only on targeted countries but also on third countries, in contravention of the basic principles of international law and that of international relations, in a manner that will coerce the latter also to apply the UCMs.

From the human rights perspective, UCMs, coupled with secondary sanctions and over-compliance, seriously trample on the basic human rights of affected people and thus constitute most serious violation of international human rights law. In each situation worldwide, UCMs have a negative impact on human rights. UCMs are a major obstacle to the implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development. Here I would like to echo the report of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee regarding recommendations on mechanisms to review the negative impact of UCMs on the enjoyment of human rights and to promote accountability.

Multifaceted crisis caused by UCMs calls for unity and solidarity of the developing world, urgently. Humanity lives in an indivisible security community. Any developing country could be the target of sanctions and oppression without exception, since UCMs are nothing but political instruments of interference. Today it is me. Tomorrow it would be you. Therefore, China calls on all developing countries to work together to oppose any illegal unilateral sanctions and those imposing States to immediately and completely cease such practices of serious violation of human rights.

We should recognize that countries who claim themselves as human rights beacons are in fact human rights violators. The United States and certain other western countries use UCMs to suppress other countries’ legitimate governments through the threat of force, political isolation, economic sanctions and technological blockade. They even promote regime change in targeted countries to serve their own geopolitical goals and economic interests. The imposition of unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the United Nations has no basis in international law, only results in confrontation and division of the world.

And those self-claimed human rights champion countries are exactly those who impose UCMs arbitrarily, target developing countries and table country-specific resolutions in the Third Committee of the General Assembly and Human Rights Council, for years. It is not accidental co-existence, but systematic interference. Therefore, it is even more urgent for developing countries to unite and fight together against any imposition of UCMs and any interference in the name of human rights.

His Excellencies,

Dear Colleagues,

China always adheres to the people-centered philosophy of human rights, firmly upholds that the right to subsistence and the right to development are the primary fundamental human rights. Accordingly, we explored and ventured into a unique path of human rights development and target a happy life for all as the biggest human right and the ultimate goal of the government.

China has been actively and constructively engaging in international human rights governance. We respect the human rights path chosen by respective countries and believe in human rights dialogue and cooperation based on equality and mutual respect. We oppose any interference in the name of human rights to serve one’s own political purposes.

China is proud to be part of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, which has made significant progress in defending genuine international cooperation and solidarity since its establishment. We will continue to call on States to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, practice genuine multilateralism, and jointly oppose illegal imposition of UCMs.

As the Chinese proverb goes, a just cause gains great support, while an unjust one gains none. With the solid support of all justice-upholding people in the world, more and more countries will be determined to coordinate efforts against the promulgation and implementation of UCMs. The current world calls for solidarity and unity rather than confrontation and division, to address global challenges, promote and protect human rights for all.

Thank you all, for your attention. 

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