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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs