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Experts discuss human rights reflected in global virus prevention

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-06-03 16:32

[Photo by Hao Yanpeng/China Daily]

Over 40 law and human rights experts attended an online conference dedicated to comparing human rights in China and Western countries in their efforts to prevent and contain COVID-19.

During the meeting, professionals from UN Human Rights, Austria, the Netherlands, the UK, Pakistan, Nepal, and China discussed how to prevent the coronavirus crisis from becoming a human rights crisis at the conference held in Institute for Human Rights Law, Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan.

Dr. Patrice Vahard, representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guinea, said that "We are educated to be an embodiment of the social concept of Ubuntu, this is an African concept that conveys the notion that individual rights can and should be realized within the communal cohesion and not at the expense of the group. It is on the basis of this cultural background that I advocate for the universal treatment of COVID-19 in a manner that is accessible, fast and affordable to all."

"Responses from governments on COVID-19 are a reflection on their values of human rights. China believes that people's right to life and health comes first, and has been striving to save every life at all costs," Li Yunlong, a professor at the Institute for International Strategic Studies, Party School of the Central Committee of CPC, said during the conference. 

Experts denounced the act of politicizing the pandemic and called for mutual respect and international cooperation for the benefit of humanity.

"Human rights have become an instrument of geopolitics, used by some in the West as a political weapon to stigmatize and demonize and to interfere in internal affairs of other countries," claimed Senator Mushahid Hussain, chairman of Pakistan-China Institute. 

Professor Gerd Kaminski, executive vice-president of the Austria-China Friendship Association, said during the meeting, "The last mimicry of 'Yellow Peril' was to be created by Mr. Trump and company in form of 'China Virus' and 'Wuhan Virus'. Taking the history of the so-called Chinese Yellow and other Perils into consideration, politicians would be well advised to deal with such terms in a responsible way."

Experts call for treating COVID-19 as an opportunity to deepen mutual understanding, promote solidarity and enhance international cooperation for the benefit of humanity. 

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