EU highlights China’s deteriorating civil and political rights

DHARAMSALA, April 3: The EU has highlighted the deteriorating situation of civil and political rights in China, at the 37th round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue.

Concerned over the arbitrary detention of the human rights defenders and lawyers by the communist regime, the EU has highlighted the deteriorating situation of civil and political rights in China, marked by the arrest and detention of a significant number of human rights defenders and lawyers, according to the press release on the official website of the European Union.

Though the EU has acknowledged that China has made progress on economic and social rights, it insisted that equal weight should be given to political and civil rights.

“International laws and standards are universal and must be applied accordingly,” the statement said and added that “In this regard, the European Union expects China to expedite the process of ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed by China in 1998, and implement the recommendations of UN human rights bodies.”

The EU has also raised individual cases and for those in detention, expressed its expectation that they would be released; which includes among others, the case of Tibetan activists, writers and religious figures who face criminal charges or have been imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression, including Tashi Wangchuk and Lobsang Dargye.

The EU further called on China to allow all detained individuals to be represented by a lawyer of their choosing, be given the possibility of meeting their family members, have access to appropriate medical assistance when required, and have allegations of their torture and mistreatment promptly investigated.

The two-day dialogue held over April 1-2, in Brussels was opened by the EU Special Representative on Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore where he stressed on the importance of the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights in her opening remarks. The EU Member States participated as observers to the Dialogue.

Other issues raised at the just concluded EU-China Human Rights Dialogue includes torture, judiciary reform, China’s Foreign NGO Activity Management Law, labour rights, freedom of expression online and offline, and the freedoms of assembly and association.

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