Chinese Law Prof Blog

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George Washington University Law School

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Friday, September 2, 2005

Louise Arbour holds press conference on human rights in China

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour held a press conference in China on Sept. 2, the last day of her trip to China, in which she commented on a number of issues related to human rights in China.

  • She reported that she had urged China to release "reliable data" about the death penalty so that it could be subject to informed debate. "I'm not interested only in raw numbers or statistics," she said. "What is critical is not just that we have a total number, but that ... in a social sense that this be broken down with enough information so we can appreciate what these numbers actually mean."
  • She pushed for a timetable for ratification by China of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but apparently did not get one.
  • She reported that she had urged China to provide for judicial review of all decisions concerning the deprivation of liberty, including re-education through labor (RETL). As an administrative decision, RETL should at least in theory be challengeable under the administrative litigation law, and such challenges have in some cases been brought. There are indeed other deprivations of liberty, such as confinement on the basis of alleged mental illness, that are not challengeable even in theory.

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