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HRIC deplores Commission's failure to act

April 18, 2000

Human Rights in China (HRIC) expresses extreme disappointment in the failure of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to go forward with a resolution criticizing China’s human rights record today.

The Commission passed a motion of “no-action” (See related article below) with a final tally of 22 to 18, with 12 abstentions and 1 absence. The “no-action” motion is introduced by China each year as a pre-emptive strike against international scrutiny - blocking debate and voting on the resolution itself. China is the only country to employ this procedural motion at the Commission, undermining the body’s mandate to hold member states accountable for human rights violations.

“The Commission’s decision not to support the resolution is no indication of China’s actual circumstances,” said Xiao Qiang, HRIC executive director. “However, it does show the weakness of the Commission. Despite statements on the deterioration of human rights in China voiced by Mary Robinson, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, U.N. human rights mechanisms and independent NGOs, the Commission has chosen to ignore reality.”

The resolution, introduced by the United States, was considerably weakened by the lack of support by other member states. The EU, Canada, Australia and other Commission delegates who opposed China’s “no-action” motion, fell short of taking the bolder, more effective action of co-sponsoring the resolution.

“It is regrettable indeed that the most fundamental issue - the serious rights abuses occurring in China today - has been overlooked by the Commission in a process that has become a political game,” said Xiao Qiang. “Today’s decision damages the credibility of the Commission and demonstrates the ongoing impunity of the Chinese government.”


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Voting Record of 56th Commission on Human Rights: On Motion of "No-Action" on Resolution to Censure China

FOR (No-Action) 22 Countries:
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Botswana, Burundi, China, Congo, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Venezuela, Zambia.

AGAINST (No-Action) 18 Countries:
Britain, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Swaziland, United States

ABSTAIN FROM VOTE (on No-Action) 12 Countries:
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Liberia, Mauritius, Mexico, Philippines, South Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Tunisia.

ABSENT 1 Country:
Romania

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