AFP: The persecution against Falun Gong impedes the progress of human rights (Robinson)

Beijing, November 9th (AFP) - The persecution against Falun Gong has prevented the progress of human rights in China, declared last Friday Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, during a press conference in Beijing.

"The very harsh use of reeducation by forced labour against Falun Gong practitioners probably slowed down the progress in terms of freedom of expression and freedom of association", analyzed Mrs. Robinson. She added that "the members of Falun Gong endure numerous violations of human rights in the way they are detained and treated."

After mentioning numerous cases of prisoners of conscience during her discussions with several Chinese leaders, the High Commissioner on Human Rights explained that she "raised in general terms the treatment of female Falun Gong practitioners and the serious accusations that have been submitted to the Commission and to the special rapporteur on torture at the United Nations."

"In some cases, female prisoners were sexually abused by other prisoners", Mrs. Robinson said further, who explained that Chinese authorities gave no answer to such accusations that she said were "numerous and serious".

On Friday in Beijing, Mrs. Robinson met Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

She also signed a protocol with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Guangya on projects to train and make people sensitive to the issue of human rights, particularly judges and the police.

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