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November 13 EU-China Dialogue: Call to the EU

November 12, 2002

FIDH and HRIC Joint Press Release

Paris – New York – Hong Kong, 12 November 2002: On the eve of the EU/China dialogue, to take place on November 13 in Beijing, the FIDH and HRIC call on the EU to put its acts in line with its declarations of principle.

In January 2001, the EU fixed benchmarks to assess the results of its dialogue with China. Those benchmarks include notably cooperation with the UN human rights mechanisms, freedom of religion and belief, respect for the right to organise (freedom of association), respect for cultural rights and religious freedoms in Tibet and Xinjiang.

The FIDH and HRIC addressed to the EU a briefing note giving a clear picture of the present situation in the fields which are on the agenda of the November 13 session of the EU/China dialogue. That document evidences not only the lack of progress with regard to death penalty, torture, freedom of expression, information and association, discrimination against ethnic minorities, violations of refugees’ rights, and cooperation with the UN. It also shows clearly that there is no improvement in the general human rights situation, and there is a serious degradation in other areas such as extra-legal detentions, repression against ethnic minorities in the name of fighting terrorism, and extensive use of the death penalty for non-violent offences .

As repeatedly affirmed by the European Union, “the dialogue is an acceptable option only if enough progress is achieved and reflected on the ground”. However, the EU and China are engaged in the human rights dialogue since five years and no positive and effective results have been noted on the ground. The FIDH and HRIC are therefore convinced that if Human Rights are to be addressed through the diplomatic channel behind closed doors, public scrutiny is necessary to induce China to achieve progress through the dialogue. Moreover, the FIDH and HRIC consider that such a public scrutiny is a necessary condition for the dialogue to be credible.

The FIDH and HRIC therefore call on the EU to duly address their concerns on November 13, and to make clear that the EU would draw the consequences of the absence of genuine progress in those fields, notably by tabling a resolution on the human rights situation in China at the next session of the UN Commission on human rights.

The FIDH and HRIC also take this opportunity to remind that the EU/China human rights seminars and the political dialogue cannot be considered as two totally separated exercises: the seminars gathering EU and Chinese experts twice a year should be the occasion to address, from an expert perspective, the reality of the human rights situation in China. Our organisations believe that main NGOs working on human rights in China should be systematically associated to that exercise in order to feed the discussions with concrete examples and facts. The seminars cannot be confined in an ivory tower and Chinese academics should be encouraged to look into rights in practice in China.

Contact:
- FIDH : 00 33 1 43 55 25 18
- HRIC : 00 1 212 239 44 95

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