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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid