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Putting People First and Global Human Rights Governance
September 15,2022   By:CSHRS
Putting People First and Global Human Rights Governance
 
A Summary of Academic Viewpoints of “2021 South-South Human Rights Forum”
 
LI Wenjun*
 
Abstract: On December 8, 2021, China’s State Council Information Office (SCIO) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs co-hosted the “2021 South-South Human Rights Forum” in Beijing. The forum is themed on “Putting People First and Global Human Rights Governance”.Four sub-themes, namely, “Building a Global Community of Health for All and Protecting Human Rights”, “Anti-Poverty Efforts and Realization of the Right to Development”, “Multilateralism and Global Human Rights Governance”, and “The Role of Developing Countries in Global Human Rights Governance”, were discussed by delegates from more than 100 countries and international organizations. Within the framework of the theme of the forum, the delegates fully discussed on how to better respect and protect human rights, advance equal cooperation, share development outcomes, seek common and sustainable development, maintain fairness and justice in the international community, and improve the basic experience of the protection of human rights, and so on. As an important platform for the exchanges and cooperation of developing countries in human rights, the South-South Human Rights Forum has effectively promoted mutual understanding, inclusiveness and mutual learning on human rights governance.
 
Keywords: South-South Human Rights Forum · putting people first · developing countries · global human rights governance
 
In order to deepen human rights exchanges and cooperation among developing countries, enhance their influence in global human rights governance, and build a more just, reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance system, China’s State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly held the 2021 South-South Human Rights Forum (SSHRF) in Beijing on December 8, 2021. The forum had the theme “Putting People First and Global Human Rights Governance.” Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the forum. Huang Kunming, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, read Xi’s letter and delivered a speech. The congratulatory letter illustrated China’s views on human rights and its vivid human rights practices, demonstrates the CPC’s commitment to promoting the common values of mankind and to the healthy development of international human rights, as well as China’s firm determination to make international human rights governance more just and equitable. Nearly 400 delegates from more than 100 countries and international organizations, including senior officials, former political leaders, experts and scholars, diplomatic envoys to China, and representatives of foreign students, participated in the forum online or offline. The participants discussed the four sub-themes of “Building a Global Community of Health for All and Protecting Human Rights,” “Anti-Poverty Efforts and Realization of the Right to Development,” “Multilateralism and Global Human Rights Governance,” and “The Role of Developing Countries in Global Human Rights Governance.” Consensus on human rights was further consolidated.
 
I. Vision and Practice of the CPC’s Respecting and Protecting of Human Rights
 
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has always respected and protected human rights. It always puts people and their interests first. In human rights governance, China has promoted cooperation through unity, development through cooperation and human rights through development. China has advanced people’s democracy throughout the whole process, promoted the free and all-round development of people, and carried forward the common values of mankind. China has successfully embarked on a path of human rights development that conforms to the trend of the times and has Chinese characteristics.
 
A. Upholding a people-centered approach to human rights protection
 
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the CPC led the people in carrying out socialist revolution and construction, establishing the basic socialist system and laying the fundamental political premise and institutional foundation for the development of human rights in China. After the launch of reform and opening-up, the CPC blazed a trail of socialism with Chinese characteristics and made significant progress in the cause of human rights in China. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, and the Chinese nation has made a great leap from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong. President Xi Jinping attaches great importance to respecting and protecting human rights and has clearly put forward the statement that “a happy life for the people is the greatest human right.” He has led the whole Party and the country in winning the battle against poverty, lifting nearly 100 million rural poor out of poverty, and achieving the poverty reduction target set in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. To protect people’s safety and health, the CPC has always put people and life first during the COVID-19 pandemic. From newborn babies to centenarians, from Chinese to foreigners in China, every life is well cared for. The infection rate and death rate in China are among the lowest in the world.
 
Michael Crook, winner of the Chinese Government “Friendship Award” and chairman of the International Committee for the Promotion of Chinese Industrial Cooperatives, believes that whether a country practices the people-centered vision and meets the needs of the people is an important criterion for judging how much a country respects and safeguards human rights. Xu Xianming, vice-president of the China Society for Human Rights Studies and deputy chairman of the Supervisory and Judicial Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, pointed out that the history of the CPC is essentially the history of the Chinese people’s fight for human rights, including calling for human rights, fighting for human rights, protecting human rights, and promoting the development of human rights undertakings. Moses Nagamootoo, former Prime Minister of Guyana, stressed that the standards and objectives of global human rights governance should be redefined, that development is meaningful only if it serves the interests of the people, and that all countries should be people-centered. Zhang Wenxian, member of the Leading Party Group and director of the Academic Committee of the China Law Society, points out that, historically, it was only after the successful revolution and the building of democracy and constitutional systems that the people of various countries established the democratic political foundation for the development of human rights. In China, it is because of the great victory of the New Democratic Revolution led by the CPC that China has achieved a great leap from thousands of years of feudal autocratic politics to people’s democratic politics, and that the Chinese people have gained true independence, freedom, dignity and happiness. Palamagamba Kabudi, Tanzania’s Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs and former Foreign Minister, stresses that we fully agree with the concept of putting people first, which is very important to boost national development and guarantee people’s basic rights. Isabel Saint Malo, former vice-president and foreign minister of Panama, says that China has made great achievements in human rights protection, which is closely related to the CPC’s people-oriented concept of human rights protection featuring putting people first. China’s human rights index has changed rapidly, rising from 0.501 in 1990 to 0.761 in 2019. China ranks among the world’s countries with a higher level of human rights development.
 
Jiang Xiheng, deputy director of the Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD), says that since its founding, the CPC has taken serving the people wholeheartedly as its fundamental purpose, and the people-centered principle has been running through the whole process of economic and social development led by the CPC. Lu Guangjin, secretary-general of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, says that the people-centered philosophy organically links the development of the people with the protection of human rights. The people are the center, development is the way, and human rights are the goal. This is also a valuable experience gained from China’s progress in human rights since reform and opening-up, especially since the 18th CPC National Congress. Dai Jiameng, athlete of the Chinese sports delegation for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, says that as China continues to develop and becomes stronger, the protection of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities has received great attention from all walks of life. There are special policies for the disabled in education, employment, medical care and other fields, and barrier-free measures can be seen everywhere, which greatly increases the frequency of independent travel for the disabled.
 
B. Following the path of human rights development that suits China’s national conditions and the trend of the times
 
The CPC upholds the people-centered philosophy of human rights, regards the rights to life and development as the foremost and basic human rights, enhances the economic, political, social, cultural and environmental rights of all the people, promotes all-round human development, and successfully blazes a path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics that meets the needs of the people. Some Western countries regard themselves as “human rights defenders” and pretend to be “lecturers” on human rights. Under the pretext of human rights, they interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, and infringe on other countries’ sovereignty to serve their own political purposes. They are “fake human rights champions and true hegemony.” Democracy is the right of the people of all countries, not the patent of a few countries. The world is colorful, and democracy can be realized in many ways. The attempt of a few countries to define democracy according to their own preferences is itself undemocratic and must be abandoned.
 
Xu Xianming stresses that human rights need global governance in many cases, and that the rights to peace, development and health can only be realized through international cooperation. This being said, the governance of human rights in any country should first and foremost take into account its own national conditions and rely on its own constitution and laws. This is the basic and main way to guarantee human rights. Palamagamba Kabudi believes that every sovereign state has the right to seek its own development path, and developed countries should not force developing countries to follow unfair rules and interfere in their internal and foreign affairs. Jiang Xiheng said that the CPC has united and led the Chinese people to achieve national independence and become masters of the country, creating two miracles of rapid economic development and long-term social stability. China has completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and resolved the issue of absolute poverty in a historic way, has embarked on a Chinese-style modernization path and has fully protected the people’s rights to life and development. Vladimir Norov, secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said that China is the world’s most populous country and its experience in fighting poverty is impressive. It aims not only to eliminate poverty but also to prevent poverty from being passed on from generation to generation. Lu Guangjin said that China has formed a set of effective measures in the development, promotion and protection of human rights. These measures include taking development as the top priority of governing and rejuvenating the country; a people-centered approach to human rights development; realizing the right to development more fully in the course of development; promoting the realization of various basic human rights through the right to development; and including human rights development in China’s national development strategy.
 
Zhang Wenxian said that the essence of democracy lies in human rights. Democracy and human rights are closely linked and inseparable. The whole-process people’s democracy is a creative new system for developing and protecting human rights. The whole-process people’s democracy has developed the civilization of human rights, and brought new voices to the theories of human rights. Valère Gabriel Eteka-Yemet, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and former First Secretary of the National Assembly of the Republic of the Congo, says that people in China and other developing countries have the right to determine their own model of democracy. Democracy is both universal and diverse. Each country’s model of democracy needs to be selected according to its own specific historical development. The diversity of democracy requires both recognition of one’s own model of democracy and respect for that of other countries. Bouthaina Shaaban, special adviser to the Syrian Presidency, said that every country has its own political system, social system and cultural system that reflects its history and reality. The democracy of the United States and other Western countries cannot be the only model of democracy in the world, and other countries have the right to choose a democratic model that suits their own national conditions. Moses Nagamootoo believes that if democracy is to be truly meaningful and achievable, it must safeguard the well-being of all people. Democracy must put people first. China has creatively put forward the concept of whole-process people’s democracy based on its experience in democratic practice, setting a good example for other developing countries.
 
II. Building a Global Community of Health for All and Protecting Human Rights
 
COVID-19 is the most serious infectious disease to hit the world in the past century. In the face of the raging pandemic, how to protect the lives and health of people and how to control the global spread of the pandemic are difficult problems facing all countries, especially developing ones. The COVID-19 pandemic has once again shown that mankind shares weal and woe and has a shared future. In the face of infectious diseases, we need to uphold the vision of a global community of health for all and work together to overcome difficulties.
 
A. Discussing the challenges of COVID-19 to human rights protection
 
Since the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 has spread rapidly, gradually becoming a global pandemic. By the end of November 2021, there were more than 256 million recorded cases and 5.13 million known deaths. COVID-19 has become one of the deadliest diseases in history. The danger posed by the pandemic is not limited to public health. It has triggered a multi-dimensional socio-economic crisis that has disrupted the world’s economy and supply chains, brought global manufacturing and international trade to a standstill, and further exacerbated inequality between rich and poor countries. Martha Delgado Peralta, Mexico’s deputy secretary for multilateral affairs and human rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the pandemic has seriously violated the basic rights of human beings and many people are facing difficulties in survival. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan, adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Economic Policy, says that since the outbreak of COVID-19, the survival of mankind has been in danger. The pandemic has completely changed the way we live, our social norms, business, production and life, governance, and so on. Yermeyn York Wuyke, advisor to the UN Population Fund ― Venezuela, believes that the gender gap has widened as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the lives of women, adolescents and girls in many ways. Zhang Guobin, vice chairman of the Council of the Chahar Institute, said that safeguarding and promoting the realization of people’s right to health is not only the premise of human survival and development, but also the common responsibility of the international community. With the global outbreak of COVID-19, human life and health are facing unprecedented challenges. The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, and uncertainties are increasing. The international community must work together to address the health crisis, economic crisis and political turmoil caused by the pandemic. Li Hongbo, professor at the School of Law-based Government of China University of Political Science and Law, said that due to the use of data technology, the privacy of individuals has been overexposed, and some special groups, such as the elderly and the disabled, have been hindered in their normal travel and access to social services. The pandemic has also caused other side effects, in particular environmental pollution caused by the massive waste of medical supplies and protective equipment. Idorenyin Asuquo, medical director of Beijing Kapp Medical Technology Co., Ltd., said that the COVID-19 outbreak has exposed the lack of health information data and the inability to obtain complete and accurate health information in a timely fashion, which is the biggest obstacle facing developing countries.
 
B. Revealing and criticizing some countries’ actions to impede global cooperation against COVID-19
 
The pandemic is no longer a challenge faced by any country or region alone, but by the whole of humanity. In the process of global cooperation against the virus, the United States and other Western countries deliberately politicized scientific issues and turned health cooperation into geopolitical competition. The breakdown of international cooperation has given rise to “vaccine nationalism.” manifested mainly in the grossly inequitable distribution of vaccines. The “immunization gap” is a serious and urgent problem facing developing countries. The COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation was scheduled to launch in April 2020, but this WHO-led project has been very slow as developed countries prioritize the use of vaccines in their own countries. While the current supply of COVID-19 vaccines is beginning to satisfy needs, pricing mechanisms designed to ensure equitable distribution under COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation are in trouble. Competition among developed countries for limited supplies, particularly the pre-purchase agreements, has limited the timely access to vaccines for poorer developing countries. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan said that the United States and other Western countries are trying to trace the COVID-19 virus to a certain country and region and mute the voices of scientists, exposing many outspoken scientists to abuse or physical threats. Xiao Junyong, professor at the Law School of Beijing Institute of Technology, said that when human life and health are at risk, the priority should be given to protecting basic human rights. The United States and other Western countries should not put ideology and economic costs above human rights protection. Peter T. C. Chang, deputy director of the Institute of China Studies, University of Malaya, said that “vaccine nationalism” has left many people, especially those in developing countries, without much-needed vaccines. The international community should do better to ensure that all people, especially the poorest, have access to the vaccines they need to beat the pandemic. Vaccine policies in Western countries such as the United States have raised doubts in developing countries about the commitment and human rights values of developed countries.
 
C. Praising China for its positive contribution to the global fight against the pandemic
 
China has achieved very good results in the fight against the pandemic, with the infection rate and death rate kept low. The pandemic prevention and control model adopted by the Chinese government, in particular the “dynamic clearing” policy featuring early detection, diagnosis, quarantine and treatment, has effectively prevented the wide spread of the virus in communities. Practice has proved that the approach is scientific, feasible and necessary as it maximizes the protection of people’s health. Putting people and life first is the starting point and goal of all China’s anti-COVID measures. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has taken the lead in sharing information and experience with other countries, providing a large number of supplies and vaccines and dispatching medical trams to other countries in a timely manner, and treating vaccines as a global public good. At the UN General Assembly, the Chinese president put forward the proposal of building a global community of health for all, and expressed China’s readiness to work with other countries to overcome the pandemic, demonstrating the sense of responsibility and actions of a responsible major country.
 
Han Dayuan, professor of the Law School and director of the Human Rights Center of Renmin University of China, said that “Healthy China” is a new strategy that fully demonstrates the inherent dignity of human beings and realizes their all-round development. It embodies the people-centered philosophy of the CPC and provides new experience and wisdom for the development of human rights. Martha Delgado Peralta said that China has donated a large number of medical supplies to Mexico, including protective goggles, suits and face masks, which has made a significant contribution to Mexico’s response to COVID-19. Mexico thanked the Chinese government for its spirit of solidarity and friendship and for its practical help. Mi Feng, deputy director-general of the National Health Commission’s Publicity Department, said that while China is highly responsible for the life and health of its own people, it is also committed to global public security and health governance and injecting confidence and strength into the global fight against COVID-19. When there was an outbreak of COVID-19 in other countries, China would immediately dispatch working groups upon request to guide local authorities in timely detection, rapid response, precise control and effective treatment, so as to minimize the spread of the pandemic and reduce its impact on the economy and society. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan said that since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has been helping developing countries fight the pandemic. It has launched humanitarian assistance and vaccine charity projects around the world, bringing hope to countries and their people threatened by COVID-19. China has taken important steps to narrow the global vaccine gap, including speeding up mass production, promoting equitable distribution and allowing more countries to produce vaccines locally. Xiao Junyong says that as the world’s second largest economy and a responsible member of the international community, China upholds the vision of building a global community of health for all, firmly supports the equitable distribution and sharing of COVID-19 vaccines globally, and takes the lead in making vaccines a global public good. China has taken concrete actions to ensure the accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 vaccines for developing countries, and gradually turned the concept of a community with a shared future for human beings into reality.
 
III. Anti-Poverty Efforts and Realization of the Right to Development
 
In terms of human rights development, developing countries still face many obstacles and challenges and need to take various measures to protect people’s basic rights. Poverty is an important factor restricting the realization of the right to development. Eliminating poverty is a basic requirement for protecting human rights and a basic prerequisite for people to pursue a happy life.
 
A. Discussion on the value of poverty eradication to the realization of basic human rights
 
Poverty is the biggest obstacle to the realization of the right to development. The elimination of poverty in all its forms is a necessary requirement for the realization of the right to development. It provides conditions for the realization of other human rights and is a necessary process for individuals to realize their potential. The right to development is a basic human right widely recognized by the international community. Most countries have taken development as their central task, and the international community has increasingly attached importance to development. There are many factors affecting the realization of the right to development, but poverty is undoubtedly a prominent one. Poverty is the result of no development, and is the key factor that prevents the right to development. Poverty also limits individuals’ right to free development and hinders the realization of a series of basic human rights. It is impossible to talk about individuals’ right to development under extreme poverty. Alounkeo Kittikhoun, former Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office and Deputy Foreign Minister of Laos, believes that poverty eradication is a necessary condition for the full realization of people’s rights and freedoms. Poverty eradication should be guided by the right to development, and the influence of the right to development on poverty reduction should be emphasized. The people-centered philosophy of the right to development should take equal development opportunities as its core and social justice and even global justice as its basic principle. Gehrman Mbega Ebon, a researcher with the Gabonese General Department of Human Rights and Human Rights Commissioner of the president of the Gabonese Democratic Party, says that the increasing number of people living in poverty in recent decades has aroused more and more people’s concern. In the process of seeking the causes of poverty and taking measures to eliminate it, the United Nations has created various mechanisms to try to find effective ways to eliminate poverty to the greatest extent, but these efforts have not yet achieved the desired goals. Milton Reyes, director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the Institute of Higher National Studies of Ecuador, believes that access to communications technology is an important part of the realization of the right to development. It can become a new force for enhancing national strength and create possible conditions for reducing the asymmetry of world development. When people in developing countries have access to ICT (Information and Communication Technology), it can effectively improve their lives and help them shake off poverty. Alexia Manombe-Ncube, Namibia’s deputy minister of Health and Social Services, said that as a disadvantaged group, people with disabilities tend to fall into poverty. In particular, many children with disabilities are unable to attend normal education due to discrimination. Expanding social inclusiveness is very important to ensure the right to development of people with disabilities.
 
B. Praises for China’s achievements in poverty reduction
 
Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, the Chinese government has always taken poverty eradication and ensuring food and clothing as the top priority and most pressing task for the country. Against the backdrop of severe poverty around the world, eliminating absolute poverty and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty is a remarkable achievement. Zhang Xiaoling, professor of the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC (National Academy of Governance), said that as the largest developing country in the world, China takes the rights to life and development as the basic human rights. China has taken various measures to eliminate poverty at home and offered assistance to developing countries internationally, greatly reducing the number of poor people in the world and making significant contributions to the realization of the global right to development. Charles-Armel Doubane, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic, said that China has made historic breakthroughs in eliminating poverty and improving the basic living conditions of people in poor areas, which has greatly promoted the realization of the right to development. Wang Xigen, director of the Institute for Human Rights Law at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, said that China has pioneered a new approach to promoting human rights through development. In particular, digital technology provided to developing countries has greatly promoted the development of digital technology around the world. China has contributed digital education, digital classes, digital medical care and digital environmental protection to all mankind. Zhang Yun, director and research fellow of the Institute of History at the China Tibetology Research Center, believes that a well-off society bears the thousand-year-old dream of common prosperity of the Chinese people, and poverty alleviation has gradually made the dream of common prosperity a reality.
 
C. China’s experience in realizing the right to development is a great reference for other developing countries
 
China has provided developing countries with successful experience in poverty eradication through development. Poverty has always been the most important problem threatening the survival of mankind. It is a common challenge faced by all countries in the world. Poverty, and a series of problems arising from it, like hunger, disease and social conflicts, seriously hinder human beings’ pursuit of a better life. China is the world’s largest developing country with a population of more than 1.4 billion, and it has a weak economic foundation and unbalanced development. Over the past 40-plus years of reform and opening-up, China has, based on its national conditions and the law of poverty reduction, established an effective policy system, work system and institutions, blazed a path of poverty reduction with Chinese characteristics, formed an anti-poverty theory and practice with Chinese characteristics, and made the ideal and goal of poverty eradication realistic. It also provides a reference for achieving the poverty reduction targets of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a realistic approach for the universal realization of the right to development. Li Yunlong, professor of the Institute of International Strategy, Party School of the Central Committee of CPC (National Academy of Governance), said that while eliminating absolute poverty and improving farmers’ lives, the Chinese government has set a higher goal, calling for the realization of common prosperity. Common prosperity creates conditions for the people to fully realize their right to development and provides a realistic foundation for all-round development. Charles-Armel Doubane said that the causes of poverty are very complex. China’s policies and measures to eliminate poverty and realize the right to development have provided the world with a lot of experience worth learning. Chen Shiqiu, adviser to the China Society for Human Rights Studies and former ambassador of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that China’s initiative of building a community with a shared future for human beings and a new type of fair and equitable international relations is an important concept and guidance for the realization of global human rights governance.
 
IV. Multilateralism and Global Human Rights Governance
 
The primary responsibility for promoting and protecting human rights lies with governments of all countries. Human rights are essentially a matter within the scope of national sovereignty. The violation or disrespect of national sovereignty is the root cause of the human rights crisis in the international community. Global human rights governance must respect the sovereignty, oppose hegemony, and firmly reject the double standards imposed by some countries.
 
A. Discussion on the role of multilateralism in global human rights governance
 
Multilateralism calls for countries to respect each other, consult on an equal footing and strengthen cooperation in international affairs, and oppose wanton interference in other countries’ internal affairs. The premise of global human rights governance is peace, security and development. Joint contribution and shared benefits are the way to achieve global human rights governance. Global human rights governance must rely on the participation and concerted efforts of all countries, rather than being led by a few powerful countries. Sovereign equality is the cornerstone and prerequisite of global human rights governance reform. The first step in global human rights governance is to respect the sovereignty of all countries. Chen Youwu, distinguished professor of Southeast University, believes that global human rights governance requires the spirit of rule of law and adherence to international human rights laws and regulations based on the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is an effective way to achieve global human rights governance. We should follow the vision of a community with a shared future for human beings and strengthen the establishment of legal mechanisms to protect human rights, so that the domestic and international rule of law can complement and reinforce each other, and jointly promote the development and progress of human rights in the world. Namizata Sangaré, president of the National Council of Human Rights of Cote d’Ivoire and Chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of OIF, said that multilateral approaches to global and shared problems require participation in the formulation of international rules by all parties, which not only ensures the legitimacy of decision-making but also promotes solidarity among countries. As the main platform for multilateral negotiations, the United Nations should establish mechanisms to avoid conflicts and promote the resolution of crises. Aslan Abashidze, vice-chair of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Director of the Department of International Law of People’s Friendship University of Russia, said that cooperation among states in the field of human rights is an integral part of the international security system established by the UN Charter. Such cooperation provides conditions for international stability and prosperity. International cooperation in human rights must be guided by the general provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights rather than by unilaterally imposed standards. Essam Shiha, president of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights and member of the National Council for Human Rights, believes that human rights protection is an important issue in social development, which can promote the development of housing, health care, education and many other matters. Global issues have exacerbated the crises and challenges faced by developing countries in the process of human rights governance, so more diversified approaches are needed to address global human rights governance issues. Developing countries should pool their wisdom to ensure the security and stability of their people’s lives and safeguard their basic rights and well-being. Global human rights governance needs to take into account the specific circumstances and needs of different countries and develop a human rights governance model focusing on key priorities.
 
B. An in-depth analysis of the difficulties and challenges faced by global human rights governance
 
The sovereign inequality in global human rights governance reflects the imbalance of power between developed and developing countries, with developed countries taking the lead in global human rights governance. The United States and other Western countries monopolize the international media and have powerful means of publicity and international communication networks. They ignore or disparage the human rights achievements of China and other developing countries, fabricate and spread lies from time to time about developing countries, deceive and mislead the world, and exert a huge negative impact on the development of the world’s human rights cause. Sun Meng, professor at the Institute for Human Rights of China University of Political Science and Law, believes that in the face of the new demands for more democracy and legitimacy in global governance, as well as the challenges of organizational fragmentation and unilateralism, the UN human rights mechanism will continue to play its representative and authoritative role and perform its important functions of multilateral mechanism. Aslan Abashidze said that as the majority on the world stage, developing countries should actively defend the UN human rights system and mechanisms. In complying with international legal obligations, consideration should be given not only to the historical, cultural and other particularities of states parties, but also to the free choice of their people to adopt measures to protect human rights within their jurisdiction. Wim Janse, professor at the Cross-cultural Human Rights Center, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, believes that effective dialogue on human rights governance should be conducted in accordance with the reality of each country, which can help us identify the needs and deficiencies of global human rights governance and provide targeted solutions. Nkolo Foé, African member of the Consultative Committee of the China-Africa Institute of Cameron, says that the unilateralist policies adopted by the United States and other Western countries are aimed at restricting the development of developing countries and re-colonizing them by pressuring developing countries and interfering in their sovereignty under the pretext of human rights issues. Esen Aydogdyev, rector of the International University of Humanities and Development of Turkmenistan, said that the major changes underway in the international community and global challenges it was facing have not been seen in a century. Countries in the world should engage in economic, social and cultural dialogue to meet the needs of global human rights governance and achieve the UN Human Rights Development Goals and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as scheduled, focusing on protecting the rights of vulnerable groups such as migrants, women, children and people with disabilities.
 
C. Positive comments on China’s contribution to the global human rights cause
 
In terms of the approach to protecting human rights, joint contribution and shared benefits are the basic way to reform global human rights governance. It is important to enhance dialogue, exchanges and cooperation in global human rights governance. Therefore, we should strengthen joint contribution and shared benefits within the UN system and support the UN in playing a positive role in global human rights governance. We should encourage developing countries to work together to contribute and share more in global human rights governance. The international community should enhance joint efforts and shared benefits in global human rights governance. Global human rights governance should be guided by the vision of a community with a shared future for human beings, promote reform of global human rights governance, and enhance the sound development of the world human rights cause. Sun Meng believes that global human rights governance is not only a test for developing countries, but also an important opportunity to reconstruct the human rights order. The Chinese government has always supported the central role of the United Nations in international affairs and advocated the realization of global human rights governance through the building of a community with a shared future for human beings and the multilateral model of win-win cooperation. Chen Youwu said that the concept of a community with a shared future for human beings advocated by the Chinese government provides a more just, reasonable and inclusive solution to global human rights governance as humanity faces the challenges for global human rights governance. Global human rights governance should be based on equality of sovereignty, survival and development, education and training, and peace and security. It should be achieved through joint contribution and shared benefits, and guaranteed by stronger rule of law. Nkolo Foé said that China’s growing global influence and advocacy of the vision of building a community with a shared future for human beings can help developing countries jointly face difficulties and challenges in global human rights governance and make positive contributions to the development of global human rights. Dr. Jon Borich of the Albanian Institute of History said that poverty is a serious challenge faced by all developing countries. It not only seriously hinders the economic development and social progress of all countries, but also causes regional conflicts, the spread of terrorism and environmental degradation. China takes the rights to life and development as its basic human rights and promotes all-round social and economic development. This is not only the basic experience of China in protecting human rights, but also an important contribution to the world’s human rights cause.
 
V. The Role of Developing Countries in Global Human Rights Governance
 
In today’s world, developing countries make up more than 80% of the world’s total population. The development of global human rights cannot be achieved without the participation of the people of developing countries. The representation and voice of developing countries in the global human rights governance system should be enhanced. The will of developing countries should be fully respected and reflected in global human rights governance.
 
A. Discussing the common needs of developing countries for global human rights governance
 
The participants believe that developing countries have formed some common needs in the protection of human rights, which is mainly reflected in the speeches and statements made by the representatives of relevant countries at the UN Human Rights Council. These needs include: priority should be given to ensuring the right to life and development, which is a priority task for developing countries in the field of human rights; attention should be paid to equal protection of the rights of specific groups, in particular the special protection of the rights of vulnerable groups such as ethnic, national, racial, religious and linguistic minorities, migrant workers, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, refugees and displaced persons; there should be a balance between rights and obligations in the field of international human rights, as well as between individual freedoms and public interests; promoting human rights through development and eliminating poverty in all its forms; it’s necessary to ensure human rights through stability, ensure the people’s right to peace, maintain a peaceful environment conducive to the protection of human rights, and settle domestic and international disputes through peaceful means; human rights disputes should be resolved through dialogue and cooperation, unilateral coercive measures should be opposed, and all countries should resolve their differences through dialogue and peaceful means; efforts should be made to build a fair, reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance system, oppose the politicization of human rights and double standards on human rights, and advocate a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect and win-win cooperation; the international community’s long-standing tendency of one-sided emphasis on civil and political rights and neglect of economic, social and cultural rights should be reversed, and the protection of these two types of rights should be balanced. Carlotto, special representative for Human Rights of Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, believes that the global response to the crisis is extremely unbalanced, and developing countries need to unite to build a more equal and sustainable human society. Kim Chol Ho, counselor at the Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Beijing, says that developing countries account for a large proportion of the world’s population, and the human rights issue should not just meet the demands of some developed countries and be used as an excuse to interfere in the sovereignty of other countries. Countries should formulate their own human rights standards in light of their national conditions, and oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs. Crispin Kugiza Kaheru, honorary member of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, said that poverty eradication is a necessary condition for sustainable development, and the imbalance in development between different regions and cities and between urban and rural areas in developing countries exacerbates the lag in the overall development of a country. Sahili Franco Ciprian, adviser on the UN System to Venezuela, says that women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups are bearing the brunt of COVID-19, which has exacerbated social inequality, governments should take a series of measures to protect the needs of these vulnerable groups. Munawar Iqbal, professor at the China Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, believes that education is deeply rooted in basic human rights and is an important way and prerequisite for promoting human rights. Strengthening the development of education in developing countries is not only conducive to the protection of people’s basic human rights, but also can fully develop people’s personality, provide a sustainable impetus for social development and contribute to the progress of society as a whole.
 
B. Looking forward to further strengthening cooperation among developing countries in global human rights governance
 
Developing countries need to work together to build a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation. Developing countries should strengthen dialogue and cooperation in global human rights governance so as to promote economic and social development, peace and security, human rights and the rule of law of all countries, and ensure a better life for the people of developing countries. Global human rights governance should be carried out in a constructive, non-confrontational and non-politicized manner. Carlotto, special representative for Human Rights of Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that developing countries should be encouraged to exchange knowledge and experience and form a common agenda for cooperation among themselves, and should be committed to establishing an equal and cooperative multilateral international political order so that all countries can guarantee the basic rights of their citizens. Chang Jian, director of the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Nankai University, believes that the primary responsibility for promoting and protecting human rights lies with the governments of all countries, however, when a government faces difficulties in promoting and protecting its people’s human rights and needs help from the outside world, the international community should provide constructive assistance and support. Crispin Kugiza Kaheru, honorary member of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, said that poverty eradication should be led by the right to development, and developing countries need to establish comprehensive knowledge-sharing platforms and innovative cooperation mechanisms for poverty eradication based on the right to development and human rights-based development paths. Joseph Harper, vice-president of the friendly civic association Poland Home and professor at the Institute of Quality Management at the Polish Institute of Banking, believes that the reasons for developing countries to continue to strengthen cooperation include their membership of the United Nations; their shared historical experience of colonial exploitation; the wide gap between their abundant natural resources and the low technical capacity to produce high-quality products; their relatively poor infrastructure and lack of financial resources; and their young populations compared to those of developed countries. Luo Yanhua, professor of the School of International Studies at Peking University, said that to achieve the lofty goal of human rights for all, developing countries need to firmly establish the vision of win-win cooperation, actively engage in dialogue in the field of human rights, and jointly promote and protect human rights. This will give a strong boost to the international human rights cause and the building of a community with a shared future for human beings. Freddy Mamani, deputy foreign minister for Multilateral Affairs of Bolivia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says that developing countries need to realize multi-dimensional human rights in a social, economic and cultural way, and in the future, all countries should work together to promote human rights and enhance exchanges and interactions among various human rights organizations.
 
C. Developing countries should jointly oppose the double standards pursued by a few countries
 
Human rights are an important part of the social development of all countries in the world. It should be chosen according to specific national conditions and the needs of the people. The promotion of dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights should be at the core of global human rights governance, and the politicization of human rights issues, pressure on other countries under the pretext of human rights issues, and open confrontation through the UN human rights mechanisms should be opposed. The international community should urge relevant countries to stop using unilateral coercive measures as political tools and work hard to eliminate the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures. Chang Jian said that developing countries should jointly oppose and condemn selected targeting and double standards in the promotion and protection of human rights or the attempts to use human rights as a tool to achieve political ends. The selective targeting of individual states under the pretext of human rights violates the principles of the Non-Aligned Movement and the UN Charter and should be prohibited. Luo Yanhua said that developing countries should actively advocate multilateralism and carry out sincere dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights, share good practices and experience in promoting and protecting human rights, strengthen technical assistance and capacity building on human rights and achieve win-win results. Kim Chol Ho said that some developed countries consider themselves defenders of human rights in the world and constantly impose their values on others. Different countries in the world, at different levels of development, cannot be expected to adhere to uniform human rights standards. The United States and other Western countries use human rights as an excuse to attack other countries or interfere in their sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is an act to use human rights as a political tool to curb the development of developing countries. Mehmet Adnan Akfirat, chairman of Turkish-Chinese Business Development and Friendship Association, said that the United States and other Western countries often use human rights issues to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs and impose unilateral sanctions. Such unilateral coercive measures as a means of exerting political or economic pressure on some countries, especially developing ones, are not conducive to the promotion and protection of human rights in accordance with the needs of their own people. Yubaraj Sangroula, former attorney general of Nepal and president of Kathmandu School of Law, says that human rights have become a tool for some developed countries to impose hegemony on developing countries, and developing countries need to join hands to oppose the politicization of human rights by the United States and other Western countries. Wang Jiang, distinguished professor at Zhejiang Normal University, pointed out that the double standards on human rights adopted by the United States and other Western countries are a common threat and challenge faced by developing countries. While criticizing, smearing and interfering in other countries’ human rights problems, they turn a blind eye to their own serious human rights problems.
 
VI. Conclusion
 
The theme of the forum was “Putting People First and Global Human Rights Governance,” and within its framework, delegates fully discussed important issues such as how developing countries should better respect and protect human rights, promote equality and cooperation and share the fruits of development, jointly pursue sustainable development, safeguard equity and justice in the international community, and improve the basic experience of human rights protection. Global issues have intensified the crises and challenges faced by developing countries in human rights governance, and countries need to adopt a more diversified and multi-level perspective to optimize human rights governance. To respect and protect human rights, we must, on the basis of upholding the principle of universality of human rights, take into full account the political, economic, social and cultural differences of different countries and each country should follow a path of human rights development suited to their own national conditions. External forces always use coercion to promote their own values and human rights models in other countries or regions, and as a result, while human rights cannot be guaranteed, new human rights problems arise. On the basis of the principle of sovereign equality, all countries, big or small, should be equal and jointly participate in global governance in the field of human rights to achieve win-win cooperation. As an important platform for the exchanges and cooperation of developing countries in human rights, the South-South Human Rights Forum, since its birth, has effectively promoted mutual understanding, inclusiveness and mutual learning on human rights governance.
 
(Translated by CHEN Feng)
 
* LI Wenjun ( 李文军 ), Lecturer at the Human Rights Institute, Southwest University of Political Science and Law. Doctor of Laws.
 
 
 
 
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