HRW: UN Chief Should Stress Rights Erosion In China


UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should publicly press China’s leaders to end their crackdown on activists and independent groups, Human Rights Watch today said in a letter to the secretary-general. Ban will visit China from July 6 to 10, 2016.

“It’s crucial for the UN secretary-general to take China’s leadership to task for rolling back the clock on human rights,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “When world leaders weigh in unapologetically on rights abuses, Beijing’s behavior can change.”

Ban’s visit takes place during a period of significant erosion in the human rights situation in China, including the adoption of draconian laws on national security and foreign nongovernmental organization management, the failure to hold the state security apparatus accountable for torture and other abuses, and the imprisonment of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Ban’s visit coincides with the first anniversary of a major crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists, 24 of whom remained arbitrarily detained.

Human Rights Watch urged Ban to reverse his practice of ignoring or downplaying human rights issues on visits to China or in discussions with senior officials. Ban should press for more access to China for UN human rights experts, an end to the harassment of activists from China who try to make use of UN human rights mechanisms, and to discuss the UN’s “Human Rights Up Front” agenda, Human Rights Watch said.

“Only by speaking out publicly can Ban take the case for human rights directly to the Chinese people, who are the major driver of change,” Roth said. “Private diplomacy alone has repeatedly failed. In his final months as secretary-general, Ban should call out Chinese leaders for China’s downward spiral on human rights.”


Letter from HRW to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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