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Statement by Ambassador Shen Guofang, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN, At the Third Committee of the 55th Session of the G.A On the Issue of Human Rights

2000-10-26 00:00
Madam Chairperson,

At the beginning of the new millennium, the international community has held a series of important activities for the promotion and protection of human rights, which was an important issue on the agenda of both the Special Session of the General Assembly on Women and Social Development and the Millennium Summit of the United Nations. The ECOSOC and its subsidiary Commission on Human Rights have been particularly dedicated to this field, making great efforts to review the past and look into the future so as to set specific goals. Past experiences have shown that for maintaining peace and security and promoting and protecting human rights of all people, respect for state sovereignty is an important principle to follow, dialogue and cooperation are the effective means while prosperity and development constitute the necessary basis.

I. The two world wars that occurred in the first half of the past century have brought humanity great tragedies and lessons, in light of which the Charter of the United Nations has established the basic principles of sovereign equality and respect for human rights. During the Cold War era, however, human rights became a tool for political confrontations between countries and interference into other country's internal affairs, seriously violating the above-mentioned principles. Regrettably, this kind of Cold-War mentality is still lingering in today's world. A very few countries still stick to the practice of political confrontation and double standards in the field of human rights, which is not helpful to the reduction and elimination of differences. Nor is it conducive to cooperation.

II. The principles of mutual respect and dialogue on an equal footing should be further strengthened on the promotion and protection of human rights. In his speech at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, President Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China pointed out, "Dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights must be conducted on the basis of respect for state sovereignty. This is the fundamental and most effective way to protect and promote human rights." As countries vary in terms of history, culture, social system, values and levels of development, the ways in which they promote and protect human rights are, naturally, also different.  These differences, however, should not be used as a basis for evaluating their performance on human rights. Countries should only seek mutual cooperation and complimentarity through dialogue on an equal footing. Only by doing so, can the international effort to protect human rights move forward in a sound manner.

III. Today, when globalization is developing at a rapid speed, it is a matter of great urgency and relevance to realize economic, social and cultural rights. However, due to the existing unjust and unreasonable international political and economic order, developing countries have been marginalized in this process rather than have benefited from it.  Poverty and external debts have become the major obstacles in the way of the realization of economic, social and cultural rights. Therefore, it is an urgent task for the international community to reduce and eradicate poverty. We have noted with satisfaction that the international community has achieved more and more common ground on the fair understanding and equal treatment of economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights. We wish to see this common ground be translated into real action as soon as possible, so as to promote prosperity and development for the developing countries and improve human rights for their people.

IV. The international community should take real action to realize the right to development. Not long ago, at the United Nations Millennium Summit, leaders from all countries solemnly committed themselves with no reservation to reducing extreme poverty and ensuring the right to development for all. The Chinese Delegation sees in the positive light, the recent meeting of the Working Group on the Right to Development of the, during which, the participants exchanged views and put forward recommendations in an extensive and in-depth manner on the importance of the right to development, obstacles ahead and international cooperation in this regard. It is our hope that the relevant resolutions of this session of General Assembly will further demonstrate the political will of the international community and help promote international cooperation in this field.

Madam Chairperson,

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the World Conference against Racism to be held in South Africa from August to September 2001, considering it an important step by the international community to promote and protect human rights. We are confident that this conference will be a strong support to the fight by the international community against contemporary racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and produce long-term influences on the protection of human rights in the new century. Preparations for this conference now are in full swing. The preparatory meetings held by relevant UN bodies and those at the regional level will lay a sound basis for its success. The Chinese Government will take an active part in the conference as well as the preparatory meeting of the Asian region and work hard for the success of this world conference.

Madam Chairperson,

During the past year, the Chinese Government and people have made fresh achievements in protecting and promoting human rights. China's fast and sound economic growth, social stability, better living standards and continued cultivation of democracy and the rule of law have all testified to the fact that China is now in a historical period when its people are enjoying human rights better than ever before. The Chinese Government is making efforts to ensure that its accomplishments in all the above fields will grow further in the days to come.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
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