UNHRC: The Draft Resolution Proposed by the United States

On April the 2nd 2004, during the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations held a consultation to discuss the draft resolution on China’s human rights abuses, which the U.S. government planned to introduce to the U.N. Human Rights Conference. More than one hundred representatives from various governments’ and non-governmental organisations' missions to the United Nations participated in this consultation. The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Richard Williamson, presided over the meeting.

The chairman distributed the text of a draft resolution on China’s human rights abuses to the audience. The language of the text was rather brief and broad, and its length was less than one side of A4 paper. At the beginning of the draft resolution, it recognised “the tremendous changes in China’s society as well as the lowering of its population below the absolute-poverty level, since the implementation of economic reform in China,” and “some measures China has taken in the past twenty years to enhance human rights, such as the abolishment of the vagrant "collection-and-return" system, and the promotion of village-level elections.” This is fairly different from the resolutions proposed in past years. In the past, the resolution usually contained four to five pages, covering various aspects of China’s human rights abuses. If the resolutions submitted to the United Nations by the U.S. in past years were regarded as condemnation of China’s human rights practises, the one proposed this year would amount to recommendation and encouragement.

In the United Nations, before a motion is voted, the defending side is allowed to move a specific “No Action Motion.” If this “No Action Motion” is carried, it may provide the chance to obstruct the counter motion to be submitted to the plenary assembly for voting. To date, the motions introduced to the U.N. Human Rights Conference by the U.S. in the past on China’ human rights practices have never been successfully submitted to the plenary assembly for voting. Though all the mainstream western democratic countries supported the motions introduced by the U.S., China often mobilised some small nations in Asia and Africa to make the “No Action Motion” through the voting session.

All those who attended the conference believed that the US’s first goal in proposing the motion this time was to have the motion carried in the voting. If the motions proposed in the past contained too much detail and too much condemnatory language, which were used by some countries as a pretext to support China’s “No Action Motion”, then the text of the resolution introduced by the U.S. this year would have already been close to its bottom line. In such circumstances, if there are still any countries supporting China’s “No Action Motion", they are actually against the basic principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the U.N. Charter.

The U.S. representative first briefly introduced the content of the draft resolution, and then proceeded to take questions from the audience and let the audience members express their opinions. The victims who had personally suffered from persecution in China, including Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, Tibetans, etc., expressed their support and appreciation to the U.S. government for its efforts. The speech given by Falun Gong practitioners who had been persecuted moved some participants to tears.

A representative from “Human Rights Watch” said, "We would like to urge all the member countries on the U.N. Human Rights Commission to seriously consider China’s current human rights situation and whether or not they should support China’s “No Action Motion.” We would like to urge all countries to take this opportunity to voice their opposition to this “No Action Motion.”

At the end of the consultation, American Ambassador Richard Williamson said: "We are working hard to make it become possible. I support the voice of justice articulated by “Human Rights Watch.” Your voice can be heard, and you should stand and speak up to urge other countries not to hide behind the “No Action Motion.”

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