As the United Nations General Assembly convenes in New York for its annual plenary sessions, just a few blocks uptown from U.N. Headquarters another type of summit was being held. “We’re hosting our own assembly where repression isn’t welcome,” stated YANG Jianli, President of Initiatives for China, referring to the U.N. Member states of Cuba, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iran Syria, Burma, North Korea, and his home country of China, among others. The global summit against persecution and discrimination sponsored by UN Watch and a coalition of human rights advocacy groups, featured dissidents and political prisoners from around the globe, victims of those governments which routinely deny citizens even the most basic of freedoms and which brutalize and persecute those who dare to advocate for their inherent human rights.
Victims, but not victimized. From Cuba, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, the dissidents spoke out in surprisingly clear, strong and eloquent terms about their struggles for justice and equality; about the horrors that they experienced at the hands of their governments; and of their hopes that future generations of their countrymen will benefit from their struggles today for freedom and democracy, human rights and dignity. “The moral force in this room cannot be ignored,” warned Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch. “The voices of these brave men and women can and must be heard.” Added Dr. Yang, ‘The General Assembly’s prearranged agenda precludes discussions such as ours. Therefore we must meet here and now to fill in the gaps and make absolutely certain these issues are addressed.”
Draft U.N. Resolution
Drawing upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Summit conferees drafted their own U.N. Resolution, titled the Declaration of Dissidents for Universal Human Rights, which called upon United Nations member states to take immediate steps to remove tyrannical governments from ‘special positions of power in the U.N. human rights system.’ Countries which by their very actions have no place on the Council must be removed immediately and unequivocably, Conferees affirmed. Specific measures include:
Suspending China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia from the UN Human Rights Council;
Removing Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women; and
Expelling Saudi Arabia from the Executive Board of UN Women.
With regards to China, Dr. YANG Jianli reminded all present that China’s current membership on the Human Rights Council will expire next May. A country whose government exhibits such a complete and utter disregard of the basic rights of its citizens has absolutely no legitimate place on the Council, Dr Yang declared. The United Nations cannot apply different standards to different countries. We must do everything in our power and capability to ensure that China is not re-elected to a second term on the Human Rights Council. We must show the international community that China is held to the same human rights standards as all Member States, and that justice and fairness are valued in this world after all.