Independent human rights commission proposed

Updated: 2011-09-22 08:09

(China Daily)

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BEIJING - Scholars have proposed setting up an independent human rights commission in line with internationally recognized standards.

The proposal was made on Wednesday at the opening of a human rights forum by a panel of experts from China University of Political Science and Law.

The experts initiated a study in 2004 on the establishment of a human rights institution, Zhang Wei, one of the experts, said in a paper submitted to the fourth Beijing Forum on Human Rights.

Zhang, deputy director of the university's Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, suggested including the establishment of the human rights commission in the constitution with a guarantee of independence and non-interference.

"Independence is crucial to a national human rights commission. It is a precondition for the institution to conduct its work of protecting human rights," Zhang said.

"Considering China's political and legal framework, it will be an unprecedented attempt to set up a commission in full compliance with the Paris Principles."

These principles, adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Commission and the UN General Assembly, concern the status and functioning of institutions protecting human rights.

Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, told the forum that China has made significant progress on human rights by developing its economy and enacting relevant legislation.

But Wang said problems remain with China's human rights efforts due to uncoordinated economic development, such as the increasing income gap between urban and rural dwellers.

"Limited by natural, historical, cultural, economic and social conditions, the cause of China's human rights still confronts many challenges," Wang said.

Respecting values and enhancing mechanisms for negotiation will contribute to protecting human rights, Wang said.

Wang stressed that the government has made international exchanges and cooperation regarding human rights a priority.

The forum, attended by more than 100 Chinese and foreign human rights experts, focused on human dignity and the diversity of culture and values.

Xinhua - China Daily