U.S. State Department officials notified the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) that the United States will introduce a resolution critical of China’s human rights record at the 60th session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which is currently meeting in Geneva.
The State Department is still formulating draft language for the resolution and is working with potential cosponsors to develop a strategy for securing passage of the resolution.
ICT has been urging the U.S. to use the UN rights commission session to follow up its tough findings contained in the State Department’s annual country reports on human rights practices. This year’s report characterized China’s human rights record in Tibet as “poor,” describing a situation whereby “authorities continued to commit serious human rights abuses, including execution without due process, torture, arbitrary arrest, detention without public trial, and lengthy detention of Tibetans for peacefully expressing their political or religious views.”
ICT has also worked with the office of Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ) in support of a House resolution that overwhelmingly passed earlier this month calling on the Bush Administration to insist that China adhere to human rights norms and sponsor China resolution at UN human rights commission.
ICT staff from both the U.S. and Europe will be in Geneva to bring attention to the human rights situation in Tibet and lobby Commission delegates in support of a strong resolution that addresses the human rights situation in Tibet. Click here for more information.
Following is the text of the statement on the U.N Resolution by State Department spokesman Richard Boucher:
The United States will introduce a resolution on China’s human rights practices at the 2004 U.N. Commission on Human Rights meeting in Geneva March 15-April 23. Our goal in sponsoring this resolution is to encourage China to take positive, concrete steps to meet its international obligations to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese people.
The United States has been disappointed by China’s failure to meet the commitments made at the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue in December 2002 as well as its failure to follow through on its stated intention to expand cooperation on human rights in 2003. We are also concerned about backsliding on key human rights issues that has occurred in a variety of areas since that time.
We call on other members of the international community, especially members of the Commission on Human Rights, to join with us in supporting a resolution. We also call on members of the Commission to vote against procedural no-action motions that seek to prevent debate on resolutions and, as such, are not consistent with democratic principles such as freedom of speech. Such no-action motions prevent the only global body charged specifically with human rights from fulfilling its mandate.
On April 5 the U.S. delegation held a public meeting to solicit feedback from Member States and NGOs about its proposed draft China resolution. Ambassador Richard Williamson, the head of the US mission, made a strong plea for concerned international NGOs to lobby member governments to support the resolution and vote against the “no action” motion. A number of victims of human rights abuses spoke out in favor of the resolution.