Monday, March 11, 2002

The UK Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee published a report on 28 February entitled Human Rights Annual Report 2001. The report said that "The Human Rights Annual Report comments at some length, and rightly so, on abuses of human rights in China, including restrictions on the exercise of freedom of religion and belief."

It also pointed out that "When on 17 July 1997, the then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook made his speech on 'Human Rights into a new century'; he set out twelve policies to put into effect the Government's commitment on human rights. The fifth of these was that 'at multilateral conferences, such as the annual meeting of the Commission on Human Rights, Britain will support measures and resolutions which criticise abuses of human rights and call for the observance of universal standards' The United States has tabled annually a draft resolution at the UN Commission on Human Rights, criticising China's human rights record, on which China has regularly prevented discussion through the use of a procedural device. This year, the United States is not a member of the Commission, and cannot table draft resolutions."

The Report went on to say, "The tabling of a draft resolution at the Commission on Human Rights is an annual reminder to China of international disapproval of that country's human rights record. In our view, failure to table such a draft resolution would be a sign to China of weakening international commitment to human rights reform. We recommend that the British Government join with other EU member states to promote the tabling by the European Union of a draft resolution on China at the UN Commission on Human Rights for 2002."