Open di­a­logues help boost hu­man rights

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By FU JING and LIU JIA in Am­s­ter­dam

In­tel­lec­tu­als be­lieve open di­a­logues and con­crete part­ner­ships be­tween Europe and China will boost hu­man rights

More than 50 re­searchers ex­changed opin­ions on hu­man rights at a two-day sem­i­nar on July 2-3 at Vrije Univer­sity Am­s­ter­dam in the Nether­lands. They be­lieve that hu­man rights in ar­eas such as ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment and so­cial se­cu­rity can be im­proved by broader co­op­er­a­tion.

Founded by the China So­ci­ety for Hu­man Rights Stud­ies, the Europe-China Sem­i­nar on Hu­man Rights is an an­nual event that aims to deepen ex­changes be­tween China and Europe. The theme this year was “Pro­tect­ing the Rights of Peo­ple with Dis­abil­i­ties”.

Cui Yuy­ing, vice-min­is­ter of the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice, who is also deputy head of the Pub­lic­ity Depart­ment of the Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, re­it­er­ated Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s pro­posal to build a com­mu­nity of shared des­tiny for mankind.

“China is not only the ini­tia­tor of this con­cept, but is a firm ad­vo­cate and prac­ti­tioner,” she said at the open­ing cer­e­mony.

Since 2009, China has en­acted and im­ple­mented a na­tional hu­man rights plan of ac­tion, which makes it one of the four coun­tries that have car­ried out such pro­grams suc­ces­sively, Cui said.

Fu Zi­tang, vice-pres­i­dent of the China So­ci­ety for Hu­man Rights Stud­ies, pres­i­dent of South­west Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and Law, said: “Peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tural back­grounds must be re­spected, in the essence, the com­mon civ­i­liza­tion for hu­mans im­plies mu­tual re­spect for each other.

“In this sense, the sem­i­nar, an in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized plat­form, pro­vides an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity for schol­ars to share ex­pe­ri­ences and fa­cil­i­tate mu­tual un­der­stand­ing.”

Arend de Kloet, lec­turer at The Hague Univer­sity, ap­praised the sem­i­nar a suc­cess­ful blend of the­ory and prac­tice, with voices from ex­perts, de­ci­sion-mak­ers and daily prac­ti­tion­ers.

“I’m very cu­ri­ous what’s hap­pen­ing af­ter today, if ideas can be fur­ther ex­plored. I’ ll be very happy to be in­formed of the fol­low-up,” he said.

Once prac­ticed, ideas ex­changed on the sem­i­nar will con­trib­ute to both Europe and China, de Kloet said.

Tom Zwart, di­rec­tor of the Cross-Cul­tural Hu­man Rights Cen­ter at Vrije Univer­sity Am­s­ter­dam, said con­crete ac­tions must be taken jointly to ful­fill Xi’s call.

Zwart said aca­demics, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from non­govern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions and gov­ern­ments can be in­vited to the side events set up by the UN’s Hu­man Rights Coun­cil where stake­hold­ers can sit to­gether and dis­cuss ideas.

How­ever, Chris­tian Mestre, rec­tor of Robert Schu­man Univer­sity of Stras­bourg, said one dif­fi­culty is that peo­ple in Europe are likely to get lim­ited in­for­ma­tion about the sit­u­a­tion on hu­man rights in China, espe­cially the pos­i­tive devel­op­ment, partly due to me­dia’s cer­tain pref­er­ence for spe­cific sub­ject.

“It’s just part of in­for­ma­tion. There are many things ig­nored. Hu­man rights con­cern econ­omy, democ­racy, jus­tice. It’s in­volved in ev­ery field,” Mestre said.

He called for joint ef­forts to take the dif­fer­ences into con­sid­er­a­tion and dis­cover a new ap­proach through new in­stru­ments so that both sides can share views frankly.

Di­ver­gence no ex­cuse

Pierre De­fraigne, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for the Bel­gian think tank known as the Madariaga — Col­lege of Europe Foun­da­tion, said that di­ver­gence be­tween Europe and China shall not be taken as an ex­cuse to avoid col­lab­o­ra­tion.

De­fraigne said what needs to be done, i nstead, is to rec­og­nize the dif­fer­ences and in­te­grate to­ward a bet­ter and more united global fu­ture for the sake of all hu­mans de­spite dif­fer­ent cul­tures, so­cial sys­tems and paths of devel­op­ment.

Pierre Ber­cis, pres­i­dent of the French New Hu­man Rights Foun­da­tions, spoke highly of the prom­i­nent role such open ex­changes will play.

“Ev­ery­thing that pro­gresses even­tu­ally con­verges,” he said.

Contact the writ­ers fu­jing@chi­


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