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Wang Yi: Global Human Rights Governance Should Be Strengthened on the Basis of "Four Upholds"

2022-08-15 22:30

On August 15, 2022, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a virtual meeting with visiting Geneva-based diplomatic envoys from Asian and African developing countries. The two sides exchanged views on human rights issues, and Wang Yi put forward four suggestions for strengthening global human rights governance and improving the work of multilateral human rights organizations.

First, uphold mutual respect and oppose imposition of one’s own will on others. Human rights have historical, specific and practical contexts. As countries differ in national conditions, history and culture, they must be allowed to explore their own paths for human rights development that best meet needs of the people and suit their national conditions. Countries that have the capability can help developing countries strengthen human rights capacity building on the basis of consent of the countries concerned, but they shall not impose their own will and standards on other countries.

Second, uphold systemic approach in advancing human rights and oppose selective negligence. Human rights are a comprehensive concept with rich substance. It is important to protect not only the citizens' political rights, but also their economic, social and cultural rights, not only the individual rights, but also the collective rights. For the people in developing countries, especially the least developed countries, ensuring their rights to subsistence and development is most imperative. Multilateral human rights organizations should take seriously the legitimate concerns of all countries, developing countries in particular, and channel more of their attention and input to the economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development.

Third, uphold openness and inclusiveness and oppose interference in others' internal affairs. The claim that "human rights is above sovereignty" is in fact an excuse to interfere in other countries' internal affairs; the promotion of the so-called "values-based diplomacy" is nothing but an attempt to force countries to pick sides under the guise of human rights; and the push for the so-called "democratic transformation" has only led to unrest, conflicts and humanitarian disasters. Historical lessons must be taken seriously and these acts must be resisted by all. Multilateral human rights organizations should follow the principles of non-selectiveness and non-politicization and make themselves platforms for constructive exchanges and cooperation among all parties rather than battlefields for political confrontation.

Fourth, uphold equity and justice and oppose double standards. A country’s human rights condition is essentially gauged by whether its people are happy and satisfied with it. Some Western countries have relished acting as human-rights "judges", who hold a "flashlight" to check on others but never on themselves, and point accusing fingers at human rights situations in developing countries but turn a blind eye to the terrible human rights records of themselves and their allies. Such double standards and acts of selective blindness must be rejected and resisted by all.

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