UN rights chief Zeid treads softly on China's record

11 Sep 2017 6:21 pm

Speaking at the start of a U.N. Human Rights Council session today, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, tread softly on human rights issues in China including detentions of lawyers and deaths in custody.

In his opening statement, he merely said the Lee Ming-che, the Taiwanese activist had been deprived of his liberty "on questionable grounds, without any independent oversight mechanism,'' along with Wang Quanzhang, and Jiang Tianyong.

Zeid, a Jordanian prince. said he was merely "concerned'' about defense lawyers.

"The recent death in custody of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo shocked many around the world, as did the deaths, also in custody, of Cao Shunli in 2014 and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche in 2015,'' Zeid said.​​​​​​

He noted that China is currently drafting its first national law regarding detention centers, with the aim of improving standards of treatment, oversight and accountability. I welcome this and encourage the Government to ensure that the law grants access to independent legal counsel and family members, as well as addressing the ill-treatment in detention and deaths in custody noted by the Committee Against Torture in 2015.

I am particularly concerned about action taken against defense lawyers, he said. "I commend China's emphasis on the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights, and suggest it should include a greater focus on vulnerable groups, in particular among the Tibetan, Uyghur and other marginalized populations.''

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