III-2 Question: What did it mean to China when it was elected as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)? What does China expect of this new council?
A: China was elected as a member of the new 47-member UNHRC by a large majority, showing that China has won common recognition of its human rights progress among the majority of the world's countries. According to UNHRC regulations, only countries that respect human rights and have made remarkable progress in this regard are eligible for membership.
The majority of UN members, instead of a few countries, should have the decisive say in judging a country's human rights situation. Some Western countries employ double standards in regard to human rights, accusing others while turning a blind eye to their own human rights problems. Thus China expects the new council will do away with political confrontation and double standards, and boost international cooperation to create an environment of harmony and mutual understanding and trust.
China stands for the UNHRC dealing with human rights issues in an impartial, objective and non-selective manner and promoting the genuine dialogue and cooperation among different cultures and religions, hence it put forth the following propositions:
--The UNHRC should continue to pay great attention to the mass human rights violations caused by armed conflicts and double efforts in preventing conflicts, restoring peace and fighting various forms of terrorism.
--The UNHRC should address the inefficiency of the former UN Human Rights Commission in promoting economic, social and cultural rights and call on the international community and other UN organizations to take effective measures to support all countries in their endeavor for right to development and in particular, help the least developed countries with their poverty elimination effort, thus realizing the goal, set in the Declaration on the Right to Development, for constant improvement of the well-being of all individuals based on their active participation and fair distribution of benefits.
--The UNHRC should continue to pay attention to the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities, minorities, immigrant workers and other disadvantaged groups of people. The council should dedicate great efforts to popularizing human rights education, cultivating a human rights culture and building a harmonious society, to enable everyone to enjoy equality in dignity. China supports the passing of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the council based on full consultation at an early date.
--The UNHRC should reform its mechanism for review of human rights situation in individual countries. The Universal Periodic Review should ensure that all countries, regardless of their size and strength, are treated equally and fairly, and enjoy equal respect with regard to their historical, cultural and religious background and differences.
--The UNHRC should introduce major reforms while retaining the complete existing international human rights protection mechanisms, in order to fit in better with the current needs. China attaches importance to the role of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in promoting and protecting human rights, and hopes it can enhance its ability to provide better consulting services and technical aids for its members. It should also receive supervision from the member countries in an open and transparent way.