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UN Slams Chinese Regime in Torture Review

By Charlotte Cuthbertson, Epoch Times
November 22, 2008

In what has been labeled a “rare move”, the United Nations (UN) has directly called the Chinese regime to account for its extensive human rights violations.

Among its hard-hitting recommendations, the UN Committee Against Torture told the regime to arrange for an investigation into the organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and for the prosecution of those responsible.

The Committee examined China's compliance with the Convention Against Torture, which China signed in 1988, and published its recommendations and observations on 21 November.

The recommendations state that the Chinese regime should:
“... immediately conduct or commission an independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and used for organ transplants and take measures, as appropriate, to ensure that those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and punished.”

The Committee also demands that the Chinese regime provide answer to questions about their re-education-through-labour system, the widespread use of torture, the “State secrets” law, harassment of defense lawyers, harassment and violence against human rights defenders and petitioners, lack of investigations, and data collection.

David Kilgour, co‑author with David Matas of a report of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, commended the Committee Against Torture for “confronting directly the very real human rights problems the Government of China has posed to the world."

"It is rare for the UN system to call the Government of China to account for its human rights violations,” he said.

The report of Mr. Matas and Mr. Kilgour on organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners was released in a first version in July 2006 and then updated in January 2007.

International human rights lawyer Mr. Matas said the Chinese regime should comply with the Committee's recommendations.

“Failure to conduct or commission an independent investigation on organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners would put China in violation of its international obligations under the Convention against Torture, which the Government of China freely signed and ratified", he said in a press release.

Mr. Matas attended the Committee's sessions in Geneva on November 7 and 10. He was also present at the Committee's briefing session on November 6th with non‑governmental representatives.


Other Recommendations Made by the Committee Include:
  • As a matter of urgency, the State party* should take immediate steps to prevent acts of torture and ill-treatment throughout the country.
  • The State party should immediately abolish all forms of administrative detention, including "Re-education through Labour”.
  • The State party should ensure that no one is detained in any secret detention facility.
  • The State party should abolish any legal provisions which undermine the independence of lawyers and should investigate all attacks against lawyers and petitioners, with a view to prosecution as appropriate.
  • The State party should take immediate action to investigate acts of intimidation and other ways of impeding the independent work of lawyers.
  • The State party should take all necessary steps to ensure that all persons, including those monitoring human rights, are protected from any intimidation or violence as a result of their activities and exercise of human rights guarantees, and to ensure the prompt, impartial and effective investigation of such acts.

Source: UN Committee Against Torture review, 21 Nov. 2008.

*NOTE: "State party" refers to the Chinese Communist Party.

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