CF & IFJC : An Open Letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
CF & IFJC / 05 February 2009
We write to bring to your attention a report prepared by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) about China’s human rights record. If left unattended, this matter will undermine the universal periodic review (UPR) process and tarnish the good office of High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Dear honorable Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
Dear High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay,
Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council,
We write to bring an urgent and important matter to your attention. If left unattended, this matter will undermine the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) universal periodic review (UPR) process and tarnish the good office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Over twenty plus independent NGOs submitted reports to the UN for the UPR of China. The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is charged with summarizing these NGO reports. After comparing it with the original NGO reports, we found that the OHCHR’s summary report excluded all complaints from NGO reports on the Chinese government’s gross and systematic human rights violations against multiple victim groups. It would be dishonest on our part if we do not admit that we initially doubted our finding. We read the summary report and many original reports many times before we became convinced of this shocking finding, and we are still in utter shock as to how this could happen.
To be responsible, we have put together an analysis report of how OHCHR’s summary report has effectively whitewashed the Chinese government’s severe and extensive human rights violations (http://consciencefoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=101:an-analysis-of-the-un-ohchr-compilation-of-ngo-reports-on-the-upr-of-china&catid=55:commentary-global-concerns&Itemid=128).
We summarize the key points of our analysis report here:
* OHCHR’s summary report excluded all complaints of gross and systematic human rights violations against multiple victim groups, including Falun Gong, Uyghur, Tibetans, Christians, and human rights lawyers and defenders;
* OHCHR’s summary report used information from institutions that are not independent from the Chinese government to counter criticisms from independent NGOs’ criticism of the Chinese government’s human rights abuses;
* OHCHR’s summary report downplayed many other systematic human rights problems in China.
As a result, OHCHR’s summary report of NGOs submission to UPR of China cannot serve as a fair and objective document for the UPR of China.
The issue we have raised is serious not only because it undermines the fairness of the UPR of China, but more because it threatens the credibility of the UPR. For the dignity of human rights, and as evidence of the justice upheld by the United Nations, the ultimate international institution, we make the following requests:
We request that High Commissioner Pillay look into the matter we have raised and take corrective measures. While we believe the summary report in concern is wrong and that OHCHR is responsible for it, we do know the difference between responsibility and the actual wrongdoing.
We request that UNHRC hold a special session to vote to postpone the UPR of China until a fair and objective summary report is prepared by OHCHR to replace the current one. The UNHRC does have a mechanism for holding special sessions and we feel the matter we have raised is serious enough for a special session.
We request UNHRC to enact an oversight mechanism to prevent biased summary reports from happening for UPR in the future.
The Conscience Foundation
International Federation for Justice in China
China Aid Association
Friends of Tibet - Belgium
Human Rights Law Foundation