Nation lauded for contribution to human rights cause

2023-12-05 08:18:57China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has earned global trust through its inclusivity, and China's historic achievements in human rights offer a unique model for upholding the spirit of the document, officials and experts said at a seminar on Monday in Beijing.

Amid the 75th anniversary of the declaration, which falls on Dec 10, the China Society for Human Rights Studies held a seminar to commemorate the milestone document.

"Over the past 75 years, China has consistently been a contributor, advocate and practitioner of the declaration," said Padma Choling, director of the society and former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

"Today, revisiting the spirit of the declaration is about clarifying the coordinates and direction of global human rights governance, better fostering world peace, and promoting shared development," he said.

The declaration is the world's most translated document, rendered in over 500 languages, with continual updates.

Experts said the formulation of the declaration, which has involved the active participation of Western countries and developing countries, including those in Asia and Africa, can be viewed as an excellent example of exchanges and mutual learning.

Based on the Confucian concept of ren (benevolence), Zhang Pengchun (1892-1957), who served as vice-chairman of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, introduced the term liangxin (conscience) in the first article of the declaration.

Lu Guangjin, a professor at Jilin University's School of Law, said, "An absence of contributors from diverse cultural and civilizational backgrounds, and a lack of inclusive coexistence between different cultures and civilizations would have made the birth of the declaration impossible."

Some Western countries tend to politicize, instrumentalize and weaponize human rights, adopting an adversarial rather than cooperative stance toward human rights, which poses numerous challenges to ensuring fundamental human rights and advancing the well-being of humanity, Lu said.

Qi Yanping, a professor at Beijing Institute of Technology's School of Law, said that under the pretext of "human rights above sovereignty", some Western nations exploit human rights concerns to meddle in other countries' internal affairs, resulting in recurring conflicts and enduring unrest.

"War stands as the archenemy of human rights, and conflict represents the greatest threat to human rights," Qi said.

Fu Zitang, head of Southwest University of Political Science and Law's Human Rights Institute, said that China proposing the Global Security Initiative, the Global Development Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative stands as a constructive solution to address human rights deficits and enhance global human rights governance.

Fu said that China promotes human rights through development, safeguards them through security and advances human rights through cooperation, which contributes to global peace and security.

Liu Huawen, executive director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Human Rights, said the declaration is universal, applying to all nations regardless of size, strength or wealth.

It is powerful not due to material resources or substantial enforcement, but because of its representation of the common ideals and goals of all humanity, "giving it enduring vitality, extensive influence and timeless inspiration", Liu said.

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