By Tenzin Monlam
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein
DHARAMSHALA, March 9: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, expressed concerns over the lack of fundamental rights in China under the rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the ongoing 37th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday.
While calling Xi’s ‘people-centered development for win-win outcomes as part of a community of shared future for mankind’ a ‘commendable ambition, the UN rights chief addressed that the situation remains grim from what is presented. He said, “Sadly, China's global ambitions on human rights are seemingly not mirrored by its record at home.”
The UN rights Chief in his annual report on the activities of his Office and recent human rights developments added that his office continues to receive ‘urgent appeals’ regarding arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and discrimination, emanating from human rights defenders, lawyers, legislators, booksellers, and members of communities such as Tibetans and Uyghurs.
“Many of these cases involve people struggling against economic, social and cultural injustices, such as cases of corruption; illegal seizure of land and forced evictions; destruction of cultural sites; constraints on religious practices and restrictions on use of local languages,” the 54-year-old High Commissioner said.
Cases such as demolition of Tibetan Buddhist institution of Larung Gar and Yarchen Gar, forced eviction of students studying in these institutions and imprisonment of Tibetan language rights activist Tashi Wangchuk include in the list of absence of rights listed by the UN rights chief.
Prince Zeid also said he looked forward to resolving some of these issues with the Chinese Government ahead of China’s UPR review in November.
The former Ambassador in his statement condemned all acts of terrorism unreservedly stating that there is no justification of this blind violence, which lashes out against ordinary people.
On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he hopes that every authoritarian leader would commit to the spirit of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Everything that’s bolted on – that is color, race, ethnicity, gender and all the rest – comes only after the acquisition by each of us of our rights as human beings. And this is what the adoption of the Universal Declaration formalized seventy years ago,” he said.