UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



xxxxxxxxxx
CHINA AND UN RIGHTS OFFICE AGREE ON COOPERATION
TO HELP COUNTRY IMPLEMENT, RATIFY RIGHTS
COVENANTS


xxxxxxxxxx
31 August 2005



Beijing/Geneva, 31 August 2005 -- United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang today signed an agreement aimed at helping China implement recommendations on economic, social and cultural rights and at facilitating the country’s ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The signing of the agreement, or Memorandum of Understanding, comes halfway through the High Commissioner’s visit to China, which is scheduled to last through Friday, 2 September. Today Mrs. Arbour also met with representatives of non-governmental organizations, including the China Society for Human Rights Studies, China Disabled People’s Federation, Beijing Children’s Legal Aid and Research Center, the Beijing Bar Association and the Women’s Law Research and Service Center of Beijing University Law School.

According to the agreement, the programme of cooperation between the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) and China will include projects to assist China find alternative penalty measures to imprisonment; help the country revise its Criminal Procedure Law, its lawyers Law, and any other related laws and regulations, and facilitate capacity building of civil society. It should also assist the incorporation of human rights education into the curricula of primary, secondary schools, universities and the education for public servants, and help authorities as they study the establishment of a national human rights institution.

OHCHR has been engaged in a dialogue with the Government of 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.