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HRIC Welcomes UN Recommendations on Women's Rights in China

September 1, 2006


Human Rights in China (HRIC) welcomes the comprehensive
and constructive recommendations issued by the UN Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
(the Committee) following its
review of the People's Republic of China (PRC) government's combined fifth and sixth periodic reports, and
urges the PRC to implement them. The Committee's concluding comments and
recommendations suggest that several serious concerns remain regarding China's
obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women (the Convention).

HRIC is concerned that
several of the Committee's recommendations released on August 31 repeat those it
made at its previous review of the PRC's progress in 1999. "While the PRC
government has improved and expanded its reporting to the Committee, its failure
to address or implement previous recommendations only continues to undermine the
rights of Chinese women," said HRIC's executive director, Sharon Hom.

In
particular, the Committee noted that there is still no definition of
"discrimination" in PRC legislation, hindering effective implementation of the
Convention as a whole. The Committee also noted that the PRC did not provide the
comprehensive information needed for a full review of its progress.
Specifically, it called on the Government to provide more comprehensive
information, including sex-disaggregated statistical information by region and
ethnic group.

The Committee, comprised of 23 independent experts
including lawyers, academics, government officials and NGO experts, examined the
83-page report submitted by the PRC, and also relied on submissions from and
dialogue with NGOs such as HRIC to assess the extent to which the PRC has
complied with its obligations. HRIC's report raised concerns and made specific
recommendations on issues of trafficking and prostitution, education, health and
domestic violence, with a special emphasis on rural women and girls, that are
reflected in the Committee's final report.

In HRIC's oral intervention
before the Committee on August 7, 2006, executive director Sharon Hom noted that
the implementation of the Convention is seriously impeded by the lack of
transparency and the control of information. "By classifying statistics on
kidnapping and trafficking, induced abortions, infanticide and the gender ratio
as state secrets and denying this information to civil society actors, these
actors cannot actively or effectively contribute to the promotion of women's
rights in China. All these factors undermine the ability of the Chinese
government to build meaningful partnerships with both local and international
actors in forming relevant and useful solutions for the advancement of women
that is consistent with the goals and purposes of the Convention," said
Hom.

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