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Scholars propose an independent human rights commission
August 28,2014   By:Xinhua

BEIJING, September 21, 2011 - Chinese scholars have proposed setting up an independent human rights commission in accordance with internationally recognized standards to monitor human rights violations and promote the public's human rights awareness.

The proposal was made by a panel of experts with China University of Political Science and Law who began a study in 2004 on the establishment of a Chinese human rights institution, Zhang Wei, one of the panel experts, said in a paper submitted to a Beijing human rights forum that opened on Wednesday.

Zhang, deputy director of the university's Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, said the experts agreed that the commission shall be established in full compliance with the Paris Principles to protect and promote human rights in China.

The Paris Principles, adopted by the United Nations in 1992, outline a number of responsibilities for national institutions, including monitoring human rights violations, reporting specific violations to the government, the parliament and any other competent body, and advising authorities on issues related to legislation and general compliance and implementation with international human rights instruments.

China has signed more than 20 international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1997, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1998. The national legislature rectified the ICESCR in 2001.

According to the treaty, signatories are obliged to submit government implementation reports to an independent commission for review, Zhang said, adding that the establishment of the commission will fulfill China's obligation to do so and will contribute to the rectification and endorsement of other international human rights treaties.

Zhang said it would be ideal to include the establishment of the human rights commission in the constitution and its operations should be free from interfering with the government, any organization or any individual.

"Independence is crucial to the national human rights commission, which is a precondition for the institution to conduct the work of human rights protection," Zhang said. "Considering China's political and legal framework, it will be an unprecedented attempt to set up a commission in full compliance with the Paris Principles."

The fourth Beijing Forum on Human Rights opened in Beijing on Wednesday with the focus on human dignity and the diversity of culture and values. Over 100 Chinese and foreign human rights experts attended the forum.

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