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Statement by H.E. Ambassador SHA Zukang, on behalf of the Like Minded Group, at the 60th Session of the Commission on Human Rights on Item 3: Organization of the Work (March 15, 2004, Geneva)
2004/04/16
Mr. Chairman,

First of all, on behalf of the Like Minded Group of States: Algeria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe and my own country China, I would like to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of the 60th Session of the Commission on Human Rights. My congratulation also goes to other members of the bureau. The LMG fully support your work and it is our firm belief that under your leadership, this session of the CHR will be a successful one.

Taking this opportunity, I would also like to reiterate that regional rotation for chairperson is a time-honored principle and practice for more than 50 years for the Commission and other UN bodies, and it should be respected rather than challenged. For the credibility of the CHR, we hope all the members of the CHR could observe this principle and practice in the future.

The LMG appreciates the great efforts made by the outgoing bureau for improving the organization of work of the CHR. We take note of the recommendations contained in document E/CN.4/2004/110/rev.1, of course there is room for improvement. One particular issue concerns this group is that we hope more speaking times can be allocated to States observers than Non-Governmental Organizations, taking into account the different responsibilities they shoulder. We believe that rationalization of the work of the CHR is an open-ended process and count on the efforts and wisdom of all the members of the CHR.

Document E/CN.4/2004/110/rev.1 suggests "the prevailing rules and practices under which the Commission is operating should be compiled in a document and made available to participants". For the sake of easy reference to the rules and practices for all participants, the LMG supports this idea and hope this document can be compiled and distributed as soon as possible. At the same time, we should always keep in mind that the Rules of Procedures of the Functional Commissions of ECOSOC should be the cornerstone for conducting our business.

Mr. Chairman,

The United Nations Charter clearly requests us "to achieve international co-operation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion". The Vienna Declaration and Program of Action also reaffirmed this principle. Regrettably, far from being a forum for international cooperation, the CHR has now degenerated into a place of naming and shaming. This is not only a great pity for the CHR, but also a mockery of the aims and purposes of the UN Charter and the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action. Were it not for some group of countries, by holding double standards, insist on pressing developing countries and interfering in their domestic affairs under the disguise of promoting and protecting human rights, the CHR cannot be what it is today. The LMG urges the CHR to reflect on it and address this abnormal phenomenon as soon as possible. It is our hope that the CHR can be a forum of dialogue and cooperation, which the founders of the CHR wished it to be.

Mr. Chairman,

The LMG believes the special procedures mandated by the CHR can be of great help in promoting and protecting human rights. However, up to now, the process for the nomination of these special procedures and their working methods are less than satisfactory. The Secretary General, in his report "Strengthen of the United Nations: an agenda for further change"(A/57/387), also highlighted the importance of improving the quality of the special procedures. We strongly urge the CHR to consider improving the work of special procedures in the following areas:

Firstly, mandate-holders of the special procedures are appointed by the chairperson of the CHR, while expert of the Sub-Commission and all treaty bodies are elected. This is in contradiction to the principles of democracy and transparency advocated by this body. We hope all candidates for the special procedures should go through the process of election by CHR in the future.

Secondly, there lacks a widely accepted code of conduct for the special procedures in discharging their mandate. And it leads to irresponsible behaviors of some of the mandate-holders. The LMG believes a code of conduct adopted by this body is relevant and highly necessary.

Thirdly, there are no criteria for mandate-holders to transmit communications to the states concerned, thus resulting in growing number and also duplications of communications for states. Some of the communications turned out to be groundless after investigation. Certain criteria for admissibility are needed, as is the case with regard to 1503 procedure.

The LMG fully supports the work of special procedures. We raise these issues with the purpose to further improve their work and credibility. The Commission should seriously consider it and do something about it.

Mr. Chairman,

The LMG supports the constructive participation of Non-Governmental Organizations in the CHR. We believe NGOs can make positive contributions to the debate of the CHR so long as they conduct their activities in accordance with relevant rules and regulations. Nobody can be above the rules and regulations. For the purpose of making this session a smooth and successful one, we do hope that NGO representatives can conduct their activities in full compliance with relevant rules and regulations, especially ECOSOC resolution 1996/31.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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