UN Watch Testimony to United Nations Human Rights Council
18 March 2014
Delivered by Ms. Ti-Anna Wang
TIME TO FREE MY FATHER, WANG BING ZHANG
Thank you, Mr. President.
My name is Ti-Anna Wang, and I’m the daughter of a Chinese political prisoner.
I wish to use my family’s experience to draw this Council’s attention to the situation of human rights in China.
My father, Dr. Wang Bing Zhang, is a medical doctor by training, who chose to devote his life to founding the Chinese overseas democracy movement. In 2002, he was abducted while traveling in Vietnam, and taken to China. He was tried, falsely convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. It’s now been 12 years, and my father is still behind bars — in solitary confinement.
On one matter, I do wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Chinese government. My father was recently transferred from Beijiang Prison to Shaoguan prison, where his treatment and conditions have significantly improved. My family is thankful for this news.
But still, my heart is broken from the last 12 years of my father’s imprisonment.
INTERRUPTION BY CHINA ON POINT OF ORDER.
China: Thank you, Mr. President. We will note that now we are discussing human rights situations that merit attention from the human rights council. In other words, we are discussing specific country situations of human rights. We are not discussing individual cases on human rights. Therefore, it is our view that the speaker for UN Watch does not correspond with the agenda item under discussion at the moment. Therefore we would like to request you to stop the speaker from speaking. Thank you sir.
USA: We highlight the United States firmly believes that accredited NGOs must be permitted to speak in the council. Though member states, including the US, may occasionally disagree with statements, it is essential that civil society voices be heard here in the atmosphere of open expression. Without addressing the substance of the speaker’s statement, we are of the opinion that from what we have heard mentioned so far, that it has indeed addressed the subject matter at hand before this council. We respectfully ask you that the speaker be allowed to finish the presentation.
Venezuela: Thank you very much president. We first of all like to support the point of order mentioned by China. Venezuela supports the participation of nongovernmental organizations but none the less, we do believe that we must abide by the specific issue under discussion, in other words, a general discussion on human rights, not raising individual cases, exactly as China said. Thank you.
UK: Thank you, Mr. President. The United Kingdom support the point of order made by the delegation of the United States. The United Kingdom supports the right of accredited NGOs to speak at the human rights council. While we may not agree with all the comments made, we certainly support the right of NGOs to make them and we therefore request that the speaker be allowed to finish the statement. Thank you.
Cuba: Thank you very much, President. We agree with what China and Venezuela have said. We do not think the speaker is abiding by the subject matter of the item under discussion at the moment. So, we support the point of order requesting the speaker not to continue. The issue under discussion at the moment is human rights situations that require the attention of the council. And, we do believe the speaker is not speaking to this point. Thank you.
Ireland: Mr. President, Ireland would like to support the point of order made by the United States. Like others, Ireland firmly believes that this council should preserve the space for civil society, and that accredited NGOs must participate in the Council. From what we have heard so far, we do believe the speaker’s statement is linked to the agenda by way of example, and we would ask that the speaker be allowed to continue. Thank you.
Pakistan: Mr. President, we would like to support the point of order raised by China. As it is on a principle position, Item Four is about country specific situations, not cases of individuals. So, therefore, we would request you to make the speaker abide by the agenda item, which is under discussion, and not bring in individual situations.
Saudi Arabia: We support the point of order presented by China. Saudi Arabia has no reservation regarding participation of NGOs but they must abide by the item under consideration. Thank you.
Germany: I also like to underline the point of order made by United States. Germany believes that this is a place for the civil society to be credited to the council to raise their voices and we have no impression, no specific impression that is not under the item issue. Thank you.
France: France believes that the civil society is very important. the civil society makes a big contribution to the work of the human rights council and must be allowed to take the floor. there is nothing justifying us standing in the way of this NGO, having it say.
Switzerland: Thank you very much, President. My delegation, too, believes that it's important to respect the right of NGOs to take the floor and to express their opinions even if we don't share the ideas they express. Their statements must not be interrupted if they quote cases of human rights violations and we do believe that the speaker ought to be allowed to continue her statement. Thank you.
Czech Republic: Thank you very much Mr. President. Also, this delegation would like to support the point of order raised by the delegation of the United States. The Czech Republic believes that striving for greater enjoyment and protection of human rights globally would have been very difficult, if not impossible, without the work of civil society. This council has always been a forum for a free exchange of views by the various stakeholders. We understand that this NGO is duly accredited, and has spoken on issues relevant to this agenda item. Consequently, it should not be interrupted in its statement, and we ask you, Mr. President, to allow its representative to continue with her intervention. Thank you.
Hungary: We just like to support also the point of order by the US and we think that the human rights council serves the platform for open dialogue and for sharing opinions and the experiences and we believe that the feedback and the input of civil society is important in advancing the discussion of human rights. Their engagement should be encouraged by the council.
HRC President: In the light of everything that has been said, let me say this. Human rights situations don't come out of a vacuum and so it is important to consider the human rights situation in a context. In the same way, that all speakers have to abide by the issues on the agenda. Then, speakers must tackle issues that are relevant to agenda item 4 and can therefore only mention specific situations by where the illustration where the point they are making. When we are having a general debate on item 4, then speakers can raise issues or make comments on human rights situations that need to brought to attention to the council, including human rights situations within countries. And on that note, I will give the floor back to the speaker who was making the statement.
Ti-Anna Wang, UN Watch: More painful is that the authorities have punished me for the advocacy work that I have done on my father’s behalf. For the past five years, they have banned me from visiting him. This year, they stopped delivering my letters.
Mr. President, I have come here today, to make two appeals.
First, to the Chinese government. I know that you consider my father an enemy of the state. But you have spoken here of China’s commitment to the development of human rights.
Therefore, I ask you to recognize my father as your partner in nurturing China’s progress; and to acknowledge that you both share a fundamental love of country.
Second, I wish to make an appeal to this Council. China was recently elected to this body, and as such, it has pledged to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.
Accordingly, I urge this Council to call on China to release my father, and all other prisoners of conscience.
Thank you, Mr. President.
我的名字是 王天安， 我是一位中国政治犯的女兒。
我的父亲，王炳章， 是一位醫生。但他選擇奉獻他的一生來开創海外中國民主運動。在 2002年，他在越南旅行時被綁架並被帶到中國。他被審判，不公正的被定罪，並被判終身監禁。至今，已經12年了，我的父親仍然被单独關在監獄裡。