UN, China agree to cooperate on civil and political rights program

31 August 2005 – The United Nations human rights office today said that it and China signed a memorandum of understanding designed to help that country implement recommendations on economic, social and cultural rights and at facilitating its ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The agreement, signed by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Goufang, covers projects to assist China find alternative penalty measures to imprisonment and help the country revise its criminal law procedure, while facilitating civil society capacity building.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said the agreement should also help to incorporate human rights education into the curricula of primary and secondary schools, universities and public servant education, and help authorities as they study the establishment of a national human rights institution.

OHCHR has been engaged in dialogue with China since 1998 when both signed a “memorandum of intent”. A first “memorandum of understanding”, setting a cooperation programme in motion, was concluded in September 2000.

During her visit to China, which is scheduled to last through 2 September, Ms. Arbour also met with non-government organization (NGO) representatives, including the China Society for Human Rights Studies, China Disabled People’s Federation, Beijing Children’s Legal Air Fund and Research Center, the Beijing Bar Association and the Women’s Law Research and Service Center of Beijing University Law School.

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