36 NGOs Urge U.N. Rights Chief to Attend Oslo Nobel Ceremony and Support Chinese Dissident
GENEVA, December 10, 2010 – Rights groups expressed outrage that the U.N. European Headquarters in Geneva today hosted a massive photo exhibit extolling China’s human rights record and its alleged respect for Uyghurs, Tibetans and other minority groups, displayed next to the U.N. human rights office event marking international Human Rights Day.
“At a time when the Nobel Peace Prize is being awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, it is an outrage that the U.N. is hosting and co-sponsoring — with China’s Communist regime — a massive propganda display designed to cover up the government’s systematic abuses of universal human rights,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch.
Under photos showing Chinese deputies voting at a ballot box, the U.N. exhibit says that “China’s Constitution and laws guarantee citizens’ freedom of speech, publication, assembly, association, procession and demonstration.” China’s laws mark “the gradual perfection of the legal system” where “the rule of law is generally realized in the country’s economic, political, cultural and social life.”
Another photo caption extols “multi-party co-operation,” “political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China,” and “socialist democracy.”
Contrary to Beijing’s documented persecution of minorities and their cultures, the exhibit shows colorful photos of ethnic minorities in traditional costumes, with the caption that “people of different ethnic groups unite fraternally in the common cause of building China while maintaining their own cultures.”
Despite the 2009 slaughter and ongoing persecution of Uighurs, the exhibit displays photos showing them as happy, saying that “Uygurs, men and women, old and young, are good at singing and dancing.” The exhibit also covers up the recent Chinese massacre and ongiong persecution of Tibetans with a photo of a Tibetan Buddhist monk.
U.N. Rights Chief Navi Pillay Urged to Tell “Full Truth” on Nobel Snub
U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay insisted in a Geneva press conference yesterday that “I was not invited by the Noble Peace Prize organizers to the event that they are holding tomorrow.”
However, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said this is not the full truth, and he urged her office to be “more forthright.”
“We know that in fact Ms. Pillay was approached by dissident Yang Jianli, the representative of the laureate, as made clear by his open letter this week. The standard procedure is that the Nobel Committee won’t invite any of the laureate’s 50 invitees until they have confirmed with the laureate’s representative that they have agreed to attend. So when Pillay and her spokesman Rupert Colville say she wasn’t invited, they are being disingenuous and misrepresenting the truth.”
International Coalition of 36 NGOs Urge Pillay to Attend
An international coalition of 36 human rights and non-governmental organizations appealed today to U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay to reverse her decision to skip the 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, SOS Racisme of France, and activist organizations from India, Venezuela and Liberia.
“The world spotlight in Oslo today 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
10 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
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Heng-Hao (Leo) Chang
International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations
International Council of Jewish Women
Dr. Yael Danieli
Senior Representative to the United Nations
International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
International Federation of Liberal Youth
Do Hoang Diem
Alim A. Seytoff
Uyghur American Association
Bhawani Shanker Kusum
Secretary and Executive Director
Gram Bharati Samiti
World Union of Progressive Judaism
Solidarity House International