News / Asia

UN Human Rights Chief Calls for Release of Liu Xiaobo

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights South African Navanethem Pillay
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights South African Navanethem Pillay
Diaa Bekheet

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is calling for the release from prison of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Liu Xiaobo.  On the eve of Human Rights Day, Pillay says Liu Xiaobo illustrates the dangers and abuse to which human rights defenders around the world are subjected.  

This year's human rights day, which falls on December 10, is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of human rights defenders.  U.N. Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay, calls them unsung heroes.  

She says they have changed history, tackling injustice and discrimination, often at great cost to themselves.  Every year, she says, thousands of human rights defenders are harassed, abused, unjustly detained and even murdered.

She says Chinese Nobel Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, is an example of a human rights defender who is paying a heavy price for his activism.  She finds his 11-year prison sentence for trying to improve China's human rights extremely harsh.  

Pillay says she also is dismayed at the recent restrictions China is placing on Liu's wife and on an every-widening circle of associates.

"In recent weeks, my office has received reports of at least 20 activists being arrested or detained and more than 120 other cases of house arrest, travel restrictions, forced relocations and other acts of intimidation," Pillay said. "These include Liu Xiaobo's wife, Liu Xia, who remains under house arrest-a house arrest, which in my view is in contravention of Chinese national law."   

Pillay says she will continue to hold discussions with Chinese authorities on these cases.

Turning to another topical issue, the High Commissioner says the case of the whistle blowing internet-site, Wikileaks, raises complex human rights questions.  She says these involve balancing freedom of information and the right of people to know against the need to protect national security and public order.

She says this is a very difficult balancing act, which ultimately will have to be decided in a court of law.

She says she is concerned by reports of pressure being exerted on private companies, including banks, credit card companies and Internet servers.  She says this apparently is being done to close down credit lines for donations to Wikileaks, as well as to shut down the website.

"Taken as a whole, they could be interpreted as an attempt to censor the publication of information," Pillay said. "Thus, potentially violating Wikileak's right to freedom of expression.  If Wikileaks has committed any recognizable illegal act, then this should be handled through the legal system and not through pressure and intimidation, including on third parties."

Pillay says she has read the files released by Wikileaks, which indicate the U.S. knew about the widespread use of torture and ill treatment of detainees by Iraqi forces.  

She says she is dismayed that, despite knowing this, the U.S. proceeded with the transfer of thousands of people who had been detained by U.S. forces to Iraqi custody between 2009 and 2010. The High Commissioner says this could potentially constitute a serious breach of international human rights law.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid