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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid