Alex Neve, Secretary General of AI of Canada

June 11, 2003

Amnesty International continues to have grave concerns about ongoing and serious violations of human rights throughout China, including the continuing campaign of persecution against Falun Gong practitioners which began four years ago.

We have repeatedly spoken out in opposition to the unjust and arbitrary detention of Falun Gong followers, arrested simply because they have sought to exercise peacefully their rights to freedom of expression and belief. We have insisted that the brutal torture that imprisoned practitioners have experienced must come to an end. We have demanded

investigations into the countless cases of Falun Gong followers who have died in custody or soon after release from custody, almost certainly in most instances because of the torture or ill-treatment they have suffered.

Today as you gather on Parliament Hill I can assure you that Amnesty International, around the world, continues to demand that China uphold the fundamental human rights of Falun Gong followers and of all peoples across China.

In the global campaign to protect and promote human rights, justice and accountability is critical.

When those individuals who carry out, allow, order or plan human rights violations pay no price for their misdeeds, it is almost certain that more abuses will follow.

The days when the world community rewarded human rights abusers are coming to an end. Finally governments are waking up to the importance of making sure that torturers, masterminds of "disappearances," and architects of genocide do face justice.

And it is a global responsibility. All nations have a responsibility to stand up for and deliver justice, no matter where human rights violations have taken place.

Your call today for justice for the many, many victims of human rights abuse in China is an important one. It is a call that the Chinese government must take seriously. It is a call that nations such as Canada must take seriously.

There can be no excuses. No silence. No looking away.

Instead all governments must, with determination and resolve, do everything possible to ensure that Chinese officials, no matter how high or low their office, who have been responsible for committing human rights violations are held to account for what they have done. That is what justice demands. That is what human rights demand.

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