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Statement by Ms. LI Xiaomei of the Chinese Delegation at the Third Committee of the Sixty-sixth Session of the UN General Assembly on Implementation of Human Rights Instruments(Agenda Item 69 (a)):

2011-10-18 22:00

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation takes note of the presentations by Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Chair of the Committee against Torture, Chair of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Mr. Chairman,

China always attaches great importance to the critical role of international human rights instruments in promoting and protecting human rights. It has paid close attention to the work of human rights treaty bodies and the related reform process. In this connection, China wishes to make the following observations concerning the work of human rights treaty bodies.

First, human rights treaty bodies should strictly abide by their mandates and enhance communication with state parties. While it is necessary for human rights treaty bodies to improve efficiency, they must work strictly in accordance within their mandates, avoid any act that exceeds their treaty mandates, and steer clear of politicization and selectivity. At the same time, they should, in accordance with the principle of objectivity and impartiality and in the spirit of pragmatic cooperation, engage in constructive dialogue with state parties in order to ensure that their conclusions and recommendations match the specific circumstances of state parties and are therefore well-targeted and operatable, so as to really assist with and facilitate the implementation of the treaty in question.

Secondly, in the course of preparing their general comments, treaty bodies should widely seek inputs from all parties. China appreciates the efforts made by various human rights treaty bodies under their respective mandates to prepare general comments on treaty provisions. China believes that general comments should be faithful to the original intention of the treaty, and in their preparation, attention should be given to the views and suggestions of states parties, and over-broad interpretation of treaty provisions should be avoided. In September this year, the Chinese government submitted to the OHCHR written response to the General Comments by the Committee against Torture on article 14 of the Convention against Torture.

Thirdly, China endorses necessary reforms of the treaty bodies. In 2009, OHCHR initiated the process of reform of the UN human rights treaty bodies and is expected to come up with recommendations next year on how to bolster the institutional system of human rights treaties. China expresses its appreciation to the OHCHR for the role it has played in this process, and believes that the reform should fully respect the views of the states parties. In view of the current considerable differences among the parties, China proposes that an open-ended intergovernmental working group be set up to discuss the reform of human rights treaty bodies with a view to forming broad consensus, thus laying a solid foundation for the healthy development of those treaty bodies.

Mr. Chairman,

China has acceded to 25 international human rights instruments, including core instruments such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment and Punishment, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. China has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and is currently carrying out a series of legislative, judicial and administrative reforms in order to create conditions for our ratification of the Covenant.

In its earnest implementation of its obligations under the human rights treaties it has acceded to, the Chinese government has paid great attention to aligning domestic legislations and policy measures with treaty provisions, and has actively fulfilled its treaty obligations in the relevant work. It has prepared and submitted implementation reports in a timely manner to present a full picture of the progress made in China’s implementation of human rights treaties. In August 2010, China submitted its first compliance report on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is now making active preparations for its consideration. China is currently preparing the combined 7th and 8th periodic reports on CEDAW to be submitted soon. Both during the consideration of our reports and in the follow-up to the concluding observations, the Chinese government has taken a highly cooperative and responsible approach and maintained good communication and dialogue with various human rights treaty bodies. It has adopted the recommendations by the treaty bodies to the extent possible in light of China’s national conditions.

Since Hong Kong and Macao returned to the Chinese sovereignty, the Chinese government has, under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, actively supported both Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions in fulfilling their relevant treaty obligations and undertaking their human rights protection work.

The Chinese government has taken an active part in the development of international norms in the human rights field. China has from the very beginning participated and played a constructive role in drafting the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure. We are pleased to see the adoption by consensus of this draft Optional Protocol at the 17th session of the Human Rights Council. Going forward, China will continue to cooperate with all parties and participate actively and thoroughly in the development of international human rights instruments.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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