By Tenzin Monlam
UN Secretary -General-elect Antonio Guterres with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on November 28, 2016.
DHARAMSHALA, November 29: UN Secretary General-elect Antonio Guterres has called for human rights to be respected globally and the need for UN to make sure that there is an effective combination of human, civil and economic rights in places where many rights are not upheld. Guterres was speaking in Beijing at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday.
Not specifically mentioning China’s bad human rights track record under President Xi Jinping, the next UN Chief said, “In a world where so many rights are not respected, to make sure that there is an effective combination in human rights, of the civil and political rights and the economic and social rights in a balanced way.”
The former Portuguese Prime Minister also raised the issue of climate change, population growth and water scarcity, which he said is creating more and more problems in the world.
He also called China to play an important role in the ‘diplomacy for peace’, which the world is in urgent need.
Guterres also met with President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang in his first visit to China since his appointment as Ban Ki-moon’s successor. The 67-year old will be taking over from January 1, 2017 after Ban completes his second term as the Secretary General.
Wang in his statement congratulated Guterres and said that he would make an ‘outstanding’ Secretary General. However, the Chinese leader did not respond to the call made on the human rights issues.
According to various human rights reports, human rights situation in China is one of the worst in the world. The US-based human rights organization, Freedom House in their 2016 report place Tibet as the second worst place in the world for political rights and civil liberties after Syria.
The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s 2016 report also stated that Beijing has maintained its harsh security measures ‘disregarding basic human rights and its protection in the ethnic minority regions including Tibetan Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.’