The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy has expressed support for an appeal from Chinese intellectuals calling for their country’s long awaited ratification of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He issued the following statement on the matter in Brussels today (1 March):
I too call on China finally to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Chinese Government has been saying for years that changes are needed to its national legal system before ratification can take place. After more than a decade, that argument has become considerably less convincing. It is not clear to me what has been done in that time. What I see is that significant shortfalls remain in the field of political and civil rights, more specifically, for example, in freedom of speech and the press.
I hope that China’s new leadership will take the opportunity to start its term in office with a demonstration of respect for human rights. Ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights would be one way of doing so.
More than 100 well known Chinese intellectuals and activists have written an open letter advocating that China ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The letter was recently published online.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees the fundamental rights of every human being. China signed it in 1998, but has yet to ratify it.