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EU statement on treatment of human rights defenders

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Declaration by High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the European Union regarding the treatment of human rights defenders and their relatives in China

The EU has welcomed recent decisions by the Chinese authorities to deepen the reform of the justice system and to uphold the Constitution and laws to protect human rights.

However, in recent weeks, the EU has become seriously concerned about the trials, convictions, detention and house arrests of a number of Chinese human rights defenders.

Some, like Xu Zhiyong, were peacefully advocating social justice and a society based on the rule of law, and more transparency in the fight against corruption. Some, like Ilham Tohti, were promoting the human rights of minorities, while others, like Cao Shunli, were supporting the participation of independent civil society in the UN Universal Periodic Review of China.

The EU is also concerned by the health conditions of some prominent human rights defenders and their families, who are under house arrest or imprisoned, and not receiving appropriate independent medical treatment.

The EU urges China to implement the announcements made at the last Third Plenum of the 18th CPC, as well as the pledges before the Human Rights Council, by releasing all those imprisoned or detained for the peaceful expression of their views.