24 NGOs appeal UN rights chief to attend Nobel ceremony

Lalit K Jha, 
PTI
Dec. 10, 2010

An international coalition of 24 human rights and non-governmental organisations, including those from India, has appealed the UN human rights chief Navi Pillay to reverse her decision to skip today”s Nobel award ceremony for imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

“We urge the High Commissioner to go to Oslo, attend the award ceremony, and convene a press conference that will spotlight the plight of the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens who are systematically denied the basic guarantees of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” they said in a statement.

Led by the Geneva-based rights group UN Watch, the signatories include the World Movement for Democracy from the US, SOS Racisme of France, and activist organisations from India, Venezuela and Liberia.

“The world spotlight in Oslo..will be exceptional — it’s a golden opportunity that the UN should not squander,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

UN Watch has worked closely with Yang Jianli, the exiled Chinese dissident representing Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo’s family, whose open letter yesterday strongly criticized the UN’s absence.

“We regret that, as claimed by China, 18 nations are supporting its boycott of the award ceremony tomorrow in Oslo,” the letter said.

“We fully reject China’s attempt to describe this courageous champion of human rights as ”subversive and criminal,” and its denunciation of the award as an ”obscenity”. On the contrary, no award could be more fitting on international Human Rights Day,” it said.

“We urge the High Commissioner to go to Oslo, attend the award ceremony, and convene a press conference that will spotlight the plight of the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens who are systematically denied the basic guarantees of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the letter said.

 

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