Amid global challenges facing developing and developed countries alike in the areas of national security, global warming and world peace, representatives from around the world met in Beijing to discuss the China-proposed Global Security Initiative (GSI) and its impact on human rights at a panel of the Forum on Global Human Rights Governance on June 14.
A panel themed “Global Security Initiative and Human Rights Protection” of the Forum on Global Human Rights Governance is held on June 14.
Yu Tao, vice president of China International Communications Group, explained the background that prompted China to introduce the GSI. Though the United Nations General Assembly passed The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a roadmap for global equality and freedom, in 1948, and the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 adopted the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which emphasized the responsibilities of all countries, the voices of most developing countries are still rarely heard in the discussions on global governance.
At the same time, many Western developed countries use “human rights violations” as an excuse to interfere in the internal affairs of countries they don’t see eye-to-eye with on political issues. China, with its extensive experience of cooperating with different countries to maintain global peace as well as creating happiness for its own massive population, purposed the GSI to improve global governance. Yu said to protect human rights, we must pursue peace worldwide, respect the sovereignty and independence of all nations, and follow the principles in the UN Charter. People can enjoy their right to life and happiness as long as all countries enjoy peaceful development.
Yu Tiejun, dean of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Peking University, explained the GSI’s potential contribution: “The GSI not only safeguards our own security, it emphasizes the international responsibility of big countries…the GSI can create peaceful development.”
Veronika Saraswati, convenor of the China Studies Research Unit at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, said the human rights definition provided by the West merely focuses on the political rights of the individual, and needs to be reviewed. Ding Gang, senior editor at People’s Daily, shared examples of China’s success in applying the principles of the GSI to create a safer society by focusing on people’s livelihoods in remote regions to eradicate extreme poverty.
Michela Arricale, chairperson of the Center for Research and Elaboration on Democracy, Italy, said, “Without peace there is no development, but without development there can be no peace.” Human rights can be guaranteed only through the peaceful sustainable development domestically and globally.
Wang Lifeng, deputy director of the Human Rights Research Center of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said respect for human rights entails respect between people, between the government and people, and between countries. If these elements are separated, individual human rights cannot be guaranteed.
According to Crispin Kaheru, a commissioner of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, China’s example of peaceful development is an encouragement that exemplifies that “if China can do it, other countries can too.”
The speakers agreed that global human rights is in crisis today, reflected by the conflicts in various countries and debate between the West and East regarding its definition. There is need for more dialogue and cooperation between people and countries. They also agreed that China has a larger role in the dialogue on protecting human rights through the GSI.