Scoop (New Zealand): "Human Rights: Not Made in China"

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Press Release: Amnesty International

April 8, 2007

"Human Rights: Not Made in China"

AI Lion launches Campaign

Amnesty International will launch its new campaign for "Human Rights Reform in China" on the 10th of April with a nation-wide 'Lion Declaration' tour, which aims to increase public awareness about human rights abuses occurring in the People's Republic of China.

At each stop on the tour the public will be able to sign a declaration in the form of a traditional Chinese parade Lion. In cities with a 'sister city' relationship with China, Amnesty International are asking Mayors and councilors to sign the declaration and to add human rights to the dialog with their Chinese counterparts.

"Local authorities in China are directly responsible for serious human rights violations in their cities. Publicly elected councils in New Zealand with 'sister city' relationships have a responsibility to speak out about severe human rights abuses" said Amnesty International New Zealand Campaigns Manager Gary Reese.

'Human Rights Reform in China' is a global campaign necessitated by appalling human rights violations occurring on a massive scale throughout China.

Despite the Chinese Government's commitment to improve its human rights record, violations are continuing. Human rights abuses of particular concern include:

  • 'Re-education through labor': over 250,000 people detained without trial.

  • Torture: widespread, including beating, sleep deprivation and electric shocks.

  • Death Penalty: up to 15,000 executed each year without fair trial; organs harvested.

  • Repression of spiritual and religious groups: including Falun Gong practitioners.

  • Repression of Internet and media: journalists and bloggers imprisoned.

  • Inadequate labor rights: appalling working conditions for internal migrants.

Mr. Reese said, "Basic human rights are universal, they belong to everyone. With 20 percent of the world's population (1.3 Billion) in China, we all have a responsibility to support the Chinese people in their struggle for better human rights."

The six week tour travels the length of the country, from Invercargill to Kaikohe, carrying the message on human rights abuses in China to 31 cities and towns throughout New Zealand.

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