June 9, 2017
On Wednesday, Special Rapporteur Philip Alston praised China’s political will to alleviate poverty and took the government to task for limiting his access and intimidating and, in one case, imprisoning civil society actors with whom he met. ISHR’s statement asked for answers.
UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty presented his country report on China this week, in addition to reports on visits to Mauritania and Saudi Arabia and a discussion of universal basic income. Unsurprisingly, despite Alston’s balanced tone, the Chinese delegation chose to attack the Rapporteur’s credibility, deny the practices he described, and hide behind tired claims that China is a ‘rule of law country’ and that the Rapporteur’s inquiry into the case of detained human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong constituted ‘meddling in judicial sovereignty‘
The report itself raised serious concerns about the commitment to human rights in poverty alleviation, and focused particularly on the lack of effective accountability mechanisms across the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. ISHR has previously highlighted key findings in the report.
ISHR advocate Sarah M Brooks noted that the Special Rapporteur clearly viewed civil society as key to making his work, and indeed the work of the UN, meaningful. And civil society groups in the room supported him, echoing his message for an end to the crackdown and the release of lawyer Jiang. ISHR’s statement is copied below.
‘The Special Rapporteur took a courageous and principled stand to call out China’s failures to protect human rights’, says Brooks. ‘It is downright shameful that no other country in the room could do the same.’