HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HOLDS GENERAL DEBATE ON TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND CAPACITY-BUILDING
26 September 2013
The Human Rights Council this morning held a general debate on technical assistance and capacity-building.
The Council took up its agenda item on technical assistance and capacity building on 25 September, and the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights’ introduction of updates and reports on Sri Lanka, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen and Cambodia and the response of those countries can be seen here.
In the general debate, speakers supported efforts made by Yemen to implement recommendations as well as Council resolutions despite a difficult security and economic situation. Now it was important that technical assistance and support was offered from the international community. Concern was expressed that senior figures in Sri Lanka, rather than building on the potential of cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, attempted to undermine its work. The Government had to step up its efforts to work towards promoting democracy and the rule of law throughout the country. One speaker noted that the Council resolution 22/1, which was not recognized by Sri Lanka, the country concerned, did not emanate from an objective assessment of the actual situation on the ground but was the result of a highly politicized discriminatory process.
With regards to Cambodia, while gradual progress had been made in Cambodia on the human rights situation in the 20 years since the Paris Peace Agreements, there remained challenges to be addressed. It would be beneficial for the Office of the High Commissioner and the Government to deepen their dialogue, identify priorities, and move forward cooperatively. Concern was expressed about the deteriorating situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly about sexual violence against women, and the Government was urged to end impunity and bring to justice those who had committed human rights abuses. Attention was also drawn to the particular need for assistance to be given to countries undergoing democratic transition, least developed countries and small island developing States, which faced challenges in upholding their human rights obligations and commitments.
Speaking in the general debate were Palestine on behalf of the Arab Group, Lithuania on behalf of the European Union, Senegal on behalf of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Montenegro, Ireland, United States, Japan, Pakistan, Maldives, Thailand, Republic of Korea, India, Switzerland, Kuwait, Philippines, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Brazil, Egypt, Norway, Algeria, Russia, Morocco, China, Australia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, France, Bolivia, Azerbaijan, South Sudan, Senegal, Myanmar, New Zealand, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Belarus and Rwanda. The Council of Europe and United Nations Children's Fund also took the floor.
Liberation, International Commission of Jurists, Asian Legal Aid Resource Centre, Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development, Human Rights Watch, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, CIVICUS, Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation, Amnesty International, United Nations Watch, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, Society Studies Centre, Comite International pour le Respect et l’Application de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples, Action Internationale pour la paix et le developpement dans la region des Grands Lacs, World Association for the School as an Instrument of Peace, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation and Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme also took the floor.
China and Sudan spoke in a right of reply.
The Human Rights Council will resume its work this afternoon at 3 p.m. to start taking action on draft resolutions and decisions and to hold Advisory Committee elections. The twenty-fourth regular session of the Council will conclude on Friday, 27 September.
General Debate on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building
The Council took up its agenda item on technical assistance and capacity building on 25 September, and the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights’ introduction of updates and reports on Sri Lanka, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen and Cambodia and the response of those countries can be seen here.
Palestine, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said it supported efforts made by Yemen to implement recommendations as well as Council resolutions despite a difficult security and economic situation. No doubt the Government was committed to the pledges made to the Council and the High Commissioner. Now it was important that technical assistance and support was offered from the international community, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations system as a whole.
Lithuania, speaking on behalf of the European Union, was concerned that senior figures in Sri Lanka, rather than building on the potential of cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, attempted to undermine its work. It was dismayed at the reports that, having facilitated a wide-reaching visit for the High Commissioner last month, some Government officials in Sri Lanka and other commentators appeared to be coordinating a campaign of disinformation in an attempt to discredit the High Commissioner or distract from the core messages of her visit.
Senegal, speaking on behalf of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, welcomed the successful organization of the Presidential elections in Mali and the setting up of a new Government. The will expressed by the Malian authorities to rapidly carry out negotiations and endeavour to settle the political crisis were welcomed and encouraged. The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie was pleased by the mobilization of the international community which supported the organisation of those elections. It deplored the deteriorating situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Montenegro thanked and commended the High Commissioner for her work in Sri Lanka, especially in promoting accountability and reconciliation in the country. Montenegro welcomed the elections that took place past week. The Government had to step up its efforts to work towards promoting democracy and the rule of law throughout the country. Montenegro urged Sri Lanka to ensure that individuals were able to exercise their political rights without interference.
Ireland welcomed Yemen’s important and timely decision to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. However, Ireland regretted that the commission of inquiry had not yet begun its work. Ireland was deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a result of the escalating conflict in the east of the country. Ireland called upon the Cambodian Government to ensure that freedom of expression, of assembly and of association were respected and protected.
United States congratulated the people of Sri Lanka on their successful elections. It expressed concern regarding increasing violence and discrimination against minorities in Sri Lanka and noted that in the absence of meaningful progress on accountability, calls for an international inquiry would persist. The United States continue to stand by the Yemeni people as they moved forward with a historical political transition. It encouraged the Government to take swift action to ban early and forced marriage and to continue its efforts to address the unlawful use of children in the armed forces.
Japan said that while gradual progress had been made in Cambodia on the human rights situation in the 20 years since the Paris Peace Agreements, there remained challenges to be addressed. It would be beneficial for the Office and the Government to deepen their dialogue, identify priorities, and move forward cooperatively. On Sri Lanka, national reconciliation continued to be an important and challenging issue. It would be beneficial for Sri Lanka to make use of the support of the Office of the High Commissioner.
Pakistan said that the High Commissioner’s update was a result of Council resolution 22/1, which was not recognized by Sri Lanka, the country concerned. The resolution did not emanate from an objective assessment of the actual situation on the ground but was the result of a highly politicized discriminatory process. Pakistan strongly believed that the Universal Periodic Review mechanism was the relevant and appropriate platform to make specific recommendations for the protection and promotion of human rights.
Maldives drew attention to the particular need for assistance to be given to countries undergoing democratic transition. Technical assistance was necessary to strengthen all democratic institutions and actors. On several occasions, Maldives had raised the issue of challenges that least developed countries and small island developing States faced in upholding their human rights obligations and commitments. It was thus pleased to note that the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to support the participation of least developed countries and small island developing States was finally in place.
Thailand welcomed Sri Lanka’s acceptance of additional recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and its commitment to implement them within its National Plan of Action. International cooperation was important for strengthening technical assistance and capacity-building for States, which would help bring about sustainable development in the field of human rights. Technical assistance should be based on the consent of the States concerned.
Republic of Korea said that it shared the concerns raised by the High Commissioner on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in relation to the issue of sexual violence which was still carried out with impunity. The Republic of Korea supported the extension of mandates of special procedures on Cambodia, Sudan and Somalia. Although the situations and challenges in these countries varied, the mandate holders’ continued engagement with the Governments concerned was essential for their work towards making a difference.
India said that it encouraged Sri Lanka to continue to work to achieve national reconciliation and lasting peace. Sri Lanka had honoured its commitment to the international community to hold elections for the Northern Provincial Council. The Tamil National Alliance and the Government of Sri Lanka should engage constructively in a spirit of partnership and mutual accommodation so that the needs of the people of the Northern Province could be addressed.
Switzerland said that even though progress had been achieved in Sri Lanka, Switzerland shared the concerns of the High Commissioner with regard to the challenges it still faced. Switzerland was deeply concerned about restrictions to freedom of expression and acts of intimidation against journalists in Sri Lanka. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, recent legislation related to the protection of human rights defenders was a positive step, but defenders remained in a fragile situation. A true reform of the security sector was needed. The perpetrators of grave human rights violations had to be identified and prosecuted.
Kuwait supported the efforts of Yemen to ensure peace and security in the country. Kuwait would mobilise resources to help Yemen in its fight against poverty. Kuwait encouraged Sri Lanka to continue the implementation of its National Plan of Action in order to implement the recommendations accepted during its Universal Periodic Review. Kuwait would support Sri Lanka in its transition process and its efforts towards reconciliation.
Philippines appreciated the cooperation and assistance of Sri Lanka in organizing the High Commissioner’s unfettered access to and meetings with Government officials and other stakeholders. During its second Universal Periodic Review, Sri Lanka had accepted several recommendations related to the implementation of the National Action Plan. The Government’s acceptance of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission was a positive step towards reconciliation.
Indonesia said that 30 years of conflict had undoubtedly left Sri Lanka with enormous human rights and humanitarian challenges that required strong commitment and measures by the Government. So far, Sri Lanka had demonstrated its comprehensive approaches to maintain progress and to address remaining challenges. Indonesia extended its solidarity with Sri Lanka in this difficult transition period and offered its best wishes to the people and Government of Sri Lanka in their future endeavours.
United Arab Emirates voiced appreciation for all efforts made by Yemen for security and stability. Tribute was paid to the sense of responsibility shown when Yemen accepted the Gulf Cooperation initiative on a national dialogue conference. The United Arab Emirates also noted decisions to establish the committee to address land issues and cases of those that had been forcibly made redundant, showing that Yemen was keen on addressing those issues. All these efforts did earn the encouragement of the Council. Yemen now needed financial and technical assistance more than any time in the past to build a better future.
Venezuela said that Council resolution 22/1 imposed by the United States against Sri Lanka was the outcome of a politicized process which did not take into account the country concerned nor did it make areas available for dialogue to carry out an objective assessment of the situation on the ground. Sri Lanka was continuing to give impetus to its national reconciliations process. It had proven its seriousness and commitment to the Council and its mechanisms and the Council had to support the efforts made by the Government and the people of Sri Lanka.
Brazil said that it remained convinced that it was the Council’s duty to strengthen its role as a promoter and facilitator of cooperation, especially given its innovative, universal and cooperative nature. Brazil welcomed the High Commissioner’s visit to Sri Lanka and the willingness of the Sri Lankan Government to cooperate with the system. Brazil encouraged the advancement of the national reconciliation process and the continuation of cooperation between Sri Lanka and the Council.
Egypt said that it had noted the efforts made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to establish a Human Rights Commission and welcomed the country’s collaboration with the Joint Human Rights Office, but remained concerned about the continuing incidents of sexual violence. Sri Lanka had demonstrated its genuine commitment to the national reconciliation process and had made progress in many areas. Egypt noted with satisfaction that Sri Lanka had facilitated the visit of the High Commissioner to the country.
Norway commended Sri Lanka on facilitating the High Commissioner’s visit to the country, and encouraged it to increase its dialogue with the Council and its mechanisms, including the Special Procedures mandate holders. Norway also commended the achievement of the Provincial Council elections on 21 September and said that an elected council for the Northern Province was crucial to securing a civilian advancement of the reconciliation process four years after the war.
Algeria said that technical assistance should be based on the needs and priorities of the concerned country. Consent and dialogue had been shown to be the most effective method of moving forward. Growing needs meant that extra funding was needed for the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, including the Council. The Human Rights Council had shown itself to be an effective tool in the promotion and protection of human rights.
Russian Federation said it had consistently been against the imposition of assistance to Sri Lanka and the types of reports produced by the High Commissioner could be seen as interfering in the affairs of a sovereign State. The Russian Federation however welcomed the visit of the High Commissioner to Sri Lank since it demonstrated Sri Lanka’s willingness to cooperate with the Council. To use human rights to settle political scores was unacceptable.
Morocco said with regard to the report on Yemen that it supported the progress that had been made in Yemen. Morocco hoped the efforts that had been made in the direction of reconciliation and the development of a national system of human rights would be successful and called on the international community to extend assistance to Yemen in this matter.
China said that technical assistance and capacity building programmes had to be designed in consultation with the State concerned and should not become a tool to impose a model of human rights or to put pressure on the country concerned. China commended Sri Lanka for its active implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and its efforts towards reconstruction and reconciliation. The High Commissioner’s visit to Sri Lanka should be fully acknowledged by the international community.
Australia welcomed the promulgation in March 2013 of legislation to establish a National Human Rights Commission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and encouraged the authorities to ensure the Commission adhered to the Paris Principles and was quickly and fully operational. Australia remained deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in the east of the country and strongly condemned M23 and other armed groups that had caused numerous civilian casualties and mass displacements. Australia called upon Sri Lanka to give substance to the work of the Commission of Inquiry and to take forward demilitarisation of the northern and eastern provinces.
Netherlands commended Yemen for its good cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner. The Netherlands was aware that Yemen was already looking at the follow-up to recommendations contained in the High Commissioner’s report. The practice of child marriages could only be eliminated by a set of policies in various fields, including legislative, administrative, social and educational. The Netherlands would contribute to international efforts to help improve the situation in Yemen.
United Kingdom said that it welcomed the efforts made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to bring peace to the east of the country and urged it to end impunity and bring to justice those who had committed human rights abuses. The United Kingdom urged the Sri Lankan Government to work closely with the Office of the High Commissioner to address continuing concerns about the protection of human rights. It also urged Yemen to implement reforms, improve women’s rights and introduce a minimum legal age requirement for marriage.
Belgium congratulated the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the creation of a national human rights commission and urged it to make it operational as soon as possible. Belgium remained concerned about violence against women and children, the displacement of persons, and murders committed in the east of the country, and urged the Democratic Republic of the Congo to step up efforts to end impunity, bring those responsible to justice, and take effective measures to protect civilians.
Canada said it expected Sri Lanka to respond constructively to the recommendations it had received and to take concrete action. Canada was disturbed by reports that those who had met with the High Commissioner were subjected to intimidation, and urged Sri Lanka to take steps to establish an independent investigation into allegations of human rights violations during the 30-year civil conflict. Recent violence, including against minorities and religious communities, were concerning and should be investigated.
France said it was concerned by the ongoing human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly sexual violence perpetrated against women. France welcomed the efforts of the authorities of Mali to enter into a dialogue with rebel groups that were not terrorists. In Mali, in order for reconciliation to take place, this dialogue was crucial. In Somalia, France condemned the recruitment of children and violence against women.
Bolivia noted with concern reports on human rights situations such as the report on Sri Lanka; these reports were contrary to various United Nations standards and were the result of a politicized process. The consent of the concerned country had to be obtained in the compilation of such reports in the spirit of universality, impartiality, mutual understanding, cooperation and respect.
Azerbaijan said with regard to the High Commissioner’s update on Sri Lanka that Sri Lanka had taken measures to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights. Sri Lanka had updated the Council about its human rights situation during its Universal Periodic Review last year. Any issue arising as a result of the High Commissioner’s visit to Sri Lanka could be considered in a spirit of cooperation between Sri Lanka and the United Nations human rights system.
South Sudan took note of the comprehensive report on reconciliation in Sri Lanka and welcomed the outcome of the High Commissioner’s visit to the country. South Sudan appreciated the progress made by Sri Lanka in areas such as reconciliation, reconstruction and accountability. South Sudan was deeply concerned about the grave human rights situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and called upon the international community to strengthen technical assistance to the country in the field of human rights.
Senegal said the provision of technical assistance was crucial for many countries to overcome the challenges they faced in the area of human rights. The beneficiary countries should show a real political will to ensure that technical assistance was useful. The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo needed the actions of the international community to help to improve the situation on the ground.
Myanmar thanked Sri Lanka for its presentation on the human rights situation in the country. Myanmar was pleased to see the continued cooperation and engagement between Sri Lanka and the Office of the High Commissioner. Myanmar believed that constructive engagement and genuine dialogue was the best way to make concrete improvements to the human rights situation of all countries.
New Zealand said that it welcomed the news of elections in the northern provinces of Sri Lanka, an important step toward building peace and achieving national reconciliation. New Zealand had noted the concerns expressed about the ongoing harassment of human rights defenders and minorities, and urged Sri Lanka to make further progress in meaningful reconciliation. It also hoped that Sri Lanka would respond positively to the High Commissioner’s offer of assistance in that regard.
Cuba said that the exercise carried out in Sri Lanka had not been agreed by the State concerned, which had rejected it. Sri Lanka had shown a commitment to the promotion of the human rights of its citizens and to the national reconciliation process. Sri Lanka had adopted a large number of measures, as a result of which significant progress had been made in rehabilitation, resettlement, demining and development sectors. The report had not recognized many of the measures which Sri Lanka had taken.
Uzbekistan said that it welcomed the efforts made by Sri Lanka for the promotion and protection of human rights and noted Sri Lanka’s commitment to the process of national reconciliation. The 53 recommendations made at the Universal Periodic Review last July, which Sri Lanka had accepted, would be implemented as part of a new national action plan. Moreover, it was very positive that Sri Lanka had created a new Ministry of Law and Order to oversee the work of the country’s police departments.
Saudi Arabia said it was grateful to the Office of the High Commissioner for the report on Yemen. Despite the difficult conditions in the country, Yemen’ Government had worked hard to implement the recommendations of the Office such as setting up a national human rights institution and a Ministry of Human Rights. Saudi Arabia hoped the support of the international community would continue.
Belarus regretted that the Council was discussing the human rights situation in Sri Lanka on the basis of the politicized and counterproductive resolution. Belarus regretted the biased report that the High Commissioner had produced against the spirit of consensus with which the conduct of the Council’s mechanisms had to be conducted. Belarus made this statement in solidarity with the Government of Sri Lanka.
Rwanda said that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had made progress in its human rights initiatives. Rather than finger-pointing, the Government of Rwanda hoped the Democratic Republic of the Congo would go forward in a spirit of cooperation which could only benefit States in the region. Rwanda offered all support to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the improvement of its human rights situation.
Council of Europe said that Belarus had to take into account the different recommendations of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, starting with the liberation of all political prisoners and a moratorium on the death penalty. Proposed cooperation activities with Belarus covered priority areas such as the abolition of the death penalty, independent media, civil society and human rights, cultural cooperation and youth.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that despite a number of encouraging initiatives to restore peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, children and women faced a daily struggle for survival, development and protection. The reasons were multiple and interconnected: illegal exploitation of natural resources, armed groups, widespread impunity and weak governance. Turning to Yemen, UNICEF welcomed the efforts made towards advancing children’s rights and the progress being made in the national dialogue conference.
Liberation said that more and more violations had been reported in Yemen since the first agreement had been signed with the Office of the High Commissioner in 2000. The technical assistance offered by the United Nations could cause an escalation of tensions and lead to a catastrophe by neglecting the right of people of the south to obtain their independence and restore their State.
International Commission of Jurists said it was concerned that critical measures on accountability, such as those called for in Council resolution 22/1, were not being adequately implemented. Without an independent and impartial judiciary in Sri Lanka, there could be no effective and credible investigations into gross violations of human rights.
Asian Legal Resource Centre said that the legal system of Sri Lanka, introduced during the British colonial period, prevailed for over 150 years, but it had now been undermined after the adoption of the 1978 constitution. The crisis of the police was linked to that of the judiciary, the independence of which had been seriously undermined.
Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development said that the civil society in Sudan endeavoured to raise awareness about human rights, assist those who needed them and cooperate with human rights mechanisms, despite having received no assistance or funding. The international community should respect its pledge to provide technical assistance to the Sudanese civil society.
Human Rights Watch said serious human rights violations continued in Yemen. The present Government had not taken significant steps to deal with current or past abuses, killings, and cases of torture or other crimes. A transitional justice mechanism had to be established. Child marriage was widespread in Yemen and the Government should outlaw it.
Lawyers Rights’ Watch Canada thanked the High Commissioner for her report on Sri Lanka. The military had interfered in elections in Sri Lanka and Tamils were harassed and subjected to ongoing abuses despite the conflict having been over for four years. The military was urged to withdraw from the north of Sri Lanka.
CIVICUS said that it was shocked by the insulting treatment given to the High Commissioner after her report on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. Attacks on journalists, human rights defenders and civil society organizations continued in Sri Lanka. The Government had to address abuses taking place in Sri Lanka.
Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation welcomed the High Commissioner’s visit to Sri Lanka. The Government’s confiscation of Tamil land was intended to re-engineer demographics and permanently marginalise the Tamil people. This strategy had been taken to unprecedented levels. The new settlements created further diluted the Tamil political representation. The crime of genocide should be investigated.
Amnesty International called upon the Democratic Republic of the Congo to improve the human rights situation in the country. The Democratic Republic of the Congo should take concrete measures that provided increased protection to civilians in situations of armed conflict and carried out a much-needed long-term reform of the justice and security sectors. Political discussions and national dialogue about how to address the human rights violations, including sexual violence, should include members of civil society.
United Nations Watch asked which country human rights situations were most efficiently defined and addressed under a framework which described itself in merely technical terms? It would be helpful for the Council to develop an objective set of criteria for deciding which countries should be addressed as technical problems.
International Movement Against All forms of Discrimination and Racism said that there had been no updates on progress made by the Commission appointed to investigate the disappearances reported in the north and east of Sri Lanka, and called for an investigation into all disappearances and abductions which had taken place since 2005.
Society Studies Centre said that, despite numerous efforts, the human rights situation in Sudan faced serious challenges. The international community had not respected its commitments vis-à-vis Sudan and maintained its unilateral and coercive measures on the country. The continued operation of armed movements in Sudan had a negative impact on the development of the country.
Comité Internationale pour le Respect et l’Application de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples congratulated the Independent Expert for Sudan on his report and said that the political will shown by the Government of Sudan deserved the support of the international community. Technical assistance on judicial and security matters had to be offered to Sudan
Action internationale pour les paix et le développement dans la région des Grands Lacs said fruitful contacts with those on the ground in Sudan showed that cooperation with the international community was important for Sudan and South Sudan, both of which were Great Lakes States. The international community should extend support for peace, facilitate capacity building and offer technical assistance to Sudan and South Sudan.
World Association for the School as an Instrument of Peace said that new hope was alive in Cambodia following recent developments. However a new electoral system had to be implemented in Cambodia, as had been recommended by the Special Rapporteur. Land reform, cooperation with civil society and progress with respect to international treaty bodies were also urgent priorities in Cambodia.
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development expressed deep regret about reports of reprisals against many who engaged with the High Commissioner during the visit to Sri Lanka, and urged the Sri Lankan Government to investigate these cases immediately and provide an update on action taken at the Council’s next session.
United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation said that it was deeply concerned by the human rights situation in China, especially the discrimination and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, and called upon the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide technical assistance to China.
Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme expressed solidarity and sympathy to the victims of the attack in Nairobi this weekend, which exposed the degree of the danger of terrorist groups. There was also concern about violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly against women and children, as well as concern regarding the situation in the Central African Republic.
Right of Reply
China, speaking in a right of reply, said that it was disappointed in the judgement of the Chairman to allow non-governmental organizations to insult former leaders of China in statements delivered in the Council. China strongly opposed the allegations made by the non-governmental organization United Agency for North-South Cooperation. Falun Gong was a cult that was harmful to China. China had not harvested the organs of Falun Gong members and if this allegation were not so insulting it would be a joke. Falun Gong was lawfully outlawed in China and its followers had been successfully re-educated.
Sudan, speaking in a right of reply, said that the non-governmental organization Recontré Africaine pour la défence des droit de l’homme had made unfounded allegations about the conduct of the authorities in Sudan. It had not been party to visits made to the country and could not therefore offer any first hand information to substantiate its allegations of human rights abuses in Sudan.
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