China praises India’s human rights records

April 18th, 2008 - 6:39 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) India’s human rights record has been praised by China at an international forum where many western nations including the US argued New Delhi could do more to stop rights abuses. China joined a number of other countries in Geneva this week to note that India has “a well established national system to guarantee human rights”. It observed that as a developing country China also faced “similar challenges” as India and, therefore, it was keen that the two countries “shared their experience and exchanged views” on some of these issues.

It is interesting that China has decided to praise India at a time when its track record on human rights have come under severe criticism from many parts of the world in the wake of its handling of the Tibetan unrest in Lhasa last month.

Delegations from 20 countries met in Geneva April 14 to participate in the first session of the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.

After Swashpawan Singh, the Indian ambassador and Permanent Member of India to the UN office in Geneva, read out the National Human Rights Record, other countries were allowed to comment on it.

Most members that praised India’s human rights record were either from the developing world or known allies of India. China’s full-some praise came as a surprise to many participating countries and even to the Indian delegation.

China said it “fully understands the pluralistic, multifaceted nature of Indian society as well as appreciates the special protection measures taken to protect the rights of minorities and other vulnerable groups.

“With these measures India has not only achieved great progress in the field of human rights but has also accumulated a rich experience to be shared with other countries.”

While many Western countries that included the US and Britain did not attack India on its human rights record, they found many areas like torture in police custody, child labour and domestic violence where measures taken seemed insufficient.

India’s new found ally, the US, expressed satisfaction to find a country as “diverse as India” participating in the Universal Periodic Review, but it had a number of questions on the measures New Delhi has taken on “freedom of religion” and “the state anti-conversion laws”.

It also wanted to know what steps were being taken to prevent child labour, dowry deaths, honour killings and domestic violence.

China’s own track record on human rights has often drawn severe criticism from different parts of the world. The western countries have periodically raised the issue with the Chinese leadership and it has yet again come to the centre stage thanks to the worldwide Tibetan protests in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics slated for August.

But its praise on India’s human rights record could be seen in the context of the current upswing in Sino-Indian relations. It might have also been noted by the Chinese leadership that India had all along been against the “intrusive policy” advocated by the western world on human rights.

The Chinese delegates, however, had some queries on how India proposed to increase the participation of women in decision-making and how the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme could be “implemented further”.

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