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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Cheers for the U.N ( true this time!)

U.N. Human Rights Commisssion"The U.N.'s top human rights body moved on Wednesday to increase scrutiny of how the so-called 'war on terror' is being waged worldwide by appointing a special investigator to monitor governments' actions."

Well the United States proposed resolution on China's Human Rights record has been defeated ( as everyone knew it would) but surprisingly the U.N. has agreed to appoint a "special investigator" to scrutinize how the "War on Terror" is being used by unscrupulous governments to mask their own human rights violations. I say surprisingly as this move was also expected to meet the same opposition from the same people that the U.S initiative met.

Two countries that come to mind in my neck of the woods that have used the "War" to mask their treatment of people and groups is China obviously with their treatment of the Uygur people of Xinjiang" and the dictator Karimov in Uzbekistan with his drive against all things Muslim and any political opponents.

Human Rights Watch LogoThe respected Human Rights organisation Human Rights Watch in an article applauding the move cites some examples of what is entailed

Abuses committed in the name of fighting terrorism include prolonged, incommunicado detention without judicial review; torture and other physical and psychological mistreatment of detainees; the transfer, return, extradition, expulsion and physical mistreatment of persons at risk of being subjected to torture; and the adoption of security measures that discriminate and curtail freedom of expression and association.

I would hasten to add to that list executions. In the case of the Uygur many have received the bullet in the back of the head as a result of claimed "terrorist activities". For example as a direct consequence of a peaceful demonstration in the Uygur city of Gulja (Yining) in 1997 that turned ugly as a result of alleged Chinese over-reaction it is claimed approximately 124 Uygurs were executed the last one only in October of last year.

I have not been alone in arguing that the "War on Terrorism", in itself a just and right cause, has been to the detriment of countless millions of innocent people and that in our "War" we have run the risk of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater"

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has now said in its Geneva sittings that any "response to terrorism" must "conform to international treaties on human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law" and will appoint an investigator to head up monitoring of the consequences of "counter terrorism" measures.

Cheers to the U.N and I mean that sincerely as against my cheers to the FBI from an earlier post today.

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Reuters AlertNet - UN investigator will probe rights, war on terror: