GENEVA, December 9, 2010 – An international coalition of 24 human rights and non-governmental organizations appealed today to U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay to reverse her decision to skip Friday’s Nobel award ceremony for imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
“We urge the High Commissioner to go to Oslo, attend the award ceremony, and convene a press conference that will spotlight the plight of the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens who are systematically denied the basic guarantees of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said the statement.
Led by the Geneva-based rights group UN Watch, the signatories include the World Movement for Democracy from the U.S., SOS Racisme of France, and activist organizations from India, Venezuela and Liberia.
“The world spotlight in Oslo tomorrow will be exceptional — it’s a golden opportunity that the U.N. should not squander,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.
UN Watch has worked closely with Yang Jianli, the exiled Chinese dissident representing Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo’s family, whose open letter yesterday strongly criticized the U.N.’s absence. Yang was a keynote speaker in April at the Geneva Summit on Human Rights and Democracy, organized by UN Watch and 25 other human rights NGOs. In July, UN Watch worked with Yang’s Sparrow Initiative to demand justice for the forced evictees of the Shanghai World Expo.
The full NGO appeal follows below.
Joint NGO Appeal for United Nations to Show Solidarity With
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, Human Rights Hero of China
9 December 2010
The undersigned human rights and non-governmental organizations pay tribute to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo on his being selected to receive the Nobel Peace Prize award.
We regret that, as claimed by China, 18 nations are supporting its boycott of the award ceremony tomorrow in Oslo. We fully reject China’s attempt to describe this courageous champion of human rights as “subversive and criminal,” and its denunciation of the award as an “obscenity”. On the contrary, no award could be more fitting on international Human Rights Day.
We further regret to learn that the Norwegian Nobel Committee confirmed that U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has also declined to attend, as reported by Radio Australia.
We urge the High Commissioner to go to Oslo, attend the award ceremony, and convene a press conference that will spotlight the plight of the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens who are systematically denied the basic guarantees of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Hillel C. Neuer
United Nations Watch
World Movement for Democracy
Abdurashid Abdulle Abikar
Center for Youth and Democracy
Nguyên Lê Nhân Quyên
Vietnamese League for Human Rights in Switzerland
Committee for Peace and Development Advocacy
Collectif Urgence Darfour
Society for Threatened Peoples
Institute of International Social Development
Carlos E. Tinoco
Consorcio Desarrollo y Justicia, A.C.
Director, Fondation Peter Hesse (www.solidarity.org)
International Christian Concern (www.persecution.org)
Dr. Theodor Rathgeber
Forum Human Rights
Representative to the UN, Geneva
Association of World Citizens
Public Verdict Foundation
Sylvia G. Iriondo
Mothers and Women against Repression (MAR por Cuba)
Charitable Foundation ROKADA
Director of Headquarters
International Union of Notaries (U.I.N.L.)
Directorio Democratico Cubano
Human Rights Director
The Cuban American National Foundation
Main Representative, UN Office in Geneva
Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur