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Win-Win Cooperation for the Common Cause of Human Rights
2018/03/01

Mr. President,

The full enjoyment of human rights by all is a great ambition of human society and an important goal of building a community of shared future for mankind, a concept initiated by President Xi Jinping. For centuries, this dream has been inspiring people around the world to strive hard. The efforts of those before us culminated in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly 70 years ago and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action by the World Conference on Human Rights 25 years ago. These instruments are a solemn pledge by the international community to respect and protect human rights and the foundation of international dialogue and cooperation in this field.

In its extraordinary journey, the international human rights cause has seen significant progress and achievements. Thanks to an earnest endeavor, mankind is enjoying the fruit of peace and development and carrying out cooperation and the division of labor on a scale never seen before.

We have reason to be hopeful about the future. And yet at the same time, we cannot lose sight of the challenges facing this cause. Our world is still troubled by unfairness, intolerance, and turbulence; and global development remains unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable.

It is now upon us to rise up to these challenges. Our options are clear. We could retreat into isolation, take a beggar-thy-neighbor approach on human rights issues, and judge the practices of other countries based on one’s own criteria, using human rights only as a tool to give others a hard time. But where will this zero-sum mentality take us? No country today can single-handedly tackle all the challenges facing mankind.

We could also seek to promote the international human rights cause through win-win cooperation. To do this, we need to be able to see ourselves as members of a community. Human rights are not tools for attack, but a common cause to fight for. Differences in human rights models should not be allowed to breed bias, but motivate mutual learning and common progress. Difficult as this path may be, we should not give up on our dreams because the reality around us is too complicated, or stop pursuing our ideals because they remote.

China calls on all parties to work together for a new model of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation and a community of a shared future for mankind. We should jointly make the international human rights governance system fair, impartial, open, and inclusive. Let me highlight four ways to do so.

First, development. Development holds the master key to all challenges. The right to development should be our top priority and drive us to fully implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and eradicate extreme poverty to leave no one behind. We need an open world economy and greater trade and investment liberalization and facilitation; we need to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, and balanced and win-for-all so that the benefits of development are spread to all countries and individuals.

Second, security. War, conflict, and regional upheaval are the root cause of mass violations of human rights. We need stronger political mediation, conflict-prevention, and peace rehabilitation efforts to effectively stop violence and chaos and build lasting peace so as to avoid tragic violations of human rights. Human rights progress at national level is also underpinned by domestic security and stability. So it is necessary to support national efforts to combat crimes and maintain public security in accordance with law and strengthen the rule of law to enhance their people’s sense of security.

Third, cooperation. This is the right way to promote the international human rights cause. There is no one-size-fits-all standard or one human rights path that is superior to all others. What we should have is dialogue on an equal footing based on respect and for mutual benefit to encourage multilateral human rights institutions, such as the Human Rights Council, to work in an impartial, objective, and non-selective manner and stay away from double standards, politicization of human rights agenda, and naming and shaming. With the consent of the host country, we should step up technical assistance to build national human rights capacity.

Fourth, fairness. With developing countries taking up 80% of the global population, their efforts at human rights development matter a great deal to the international cause. Developing countries should be given stronger representation and a greater say in the international human rights governance system. In carrying out international human rights cooperation, the will of developing countries needs to be fully respected and heeded; the right to development and economic, social, and cultural rights deserve greater attention; more input is required in the areas of development, poverty reduction, health, women, children, and people with disabilities. All categories of human rights should move forward in balance and developing countries must be able to benefit from international human rights cooperation.

Mr. President,

The “people-centered approach” is an important part of President XI Jinping’s governance philosophy. The people’s interests are of overriding importance to the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government and their aspirations for a better life are what we ultimately fight for. All the fundamental rights of our people are being better respected and guaranteed. China takes a constructive part in international human rights governance. We will continue to build and contribute to international human rights governance and work for the healthy growth of international human rights cause.

At its 19th National Congress last October, the Communist Party of China drew up a blueprint of China’s development: by 2020, China will finish the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eliminate extreme poverty; by 2035, we will basically realize socialist modernization; and by the middle of this century, we aim to develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. As we gradually achieve these goals, China will advance its human rights cause and contribute even more to the progress of human society.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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