Human Rights in China (HRIC) welcomes the comprehensive and concrete recommendations issued by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights following its review of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) government progress report. HRIC urges the PRC government to implement the UN body’s recommendations.
The UN Committee today released its conclusions and recommendations on the PRC's initial progress report, which is required under the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). While expressing appreciation for positive aspects of the PRC’s report, the Committee noted 28 principal subjects of concern, including the lack of comparative disaggregated data, the economic and social disadvantages imposed on vulnerable populations by the government’s preferential development policies and the restrictive hukou registration system, and the restrictions placed on access to information with regard to academic research, foreign and domestic publications and the Internet. While recognizing the challenges presented by China’s size, large population and developing country limitations, the Committee noted, “there are no significant factors and difficulties impeding [China’s] capacity to effectively implement the Covenant.”
The UN Committee’s suggestions and recommendations include: 1) the adoption of a National Human Rights Plan of Action; 2) allocation of adequate and increased resources; 3) legislative reforms, including amendments to the Trade Union Act to allow workers to form independent trade unions outside the structure of the official All-China Federation of Trade Unions; 4) the provision of detailed information on public consultation in the preparation of the country report; and 5) the removal of restrictions on freedom of information and expression.
“The UN Committee’s concrete and constructive recommendations give the PRC government a clear and important opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to its international obligations,” said HRIC’s executive director, Sharon Hom. “We are especially encouraged that a number of the issues and recommendations HRIC submitted to the Committee are reflected in the Committee’s review and final recommendations. It is time for the PRC government to recognize that its reputation in the international community will be measured not only by its economic development and political influence but also by the welfare of its most vulnerable groups.”
The UN Committee is comprised of 18 independent expert lawyers and academics. In addition to the reports submitted by governments, the UN Committee also relies on submissions from NGOs such as Human Rights in China (HRIC) to effectively assess how countries have complied with their obligations. HRIC submitted a 46-page parallel NGO report with recommendations to the Committee that focused on vulnerable populations, delivered an oral intervention prior to the opening of the Committee’s session, and participated in an NGO country briefing for the Committee experts.