The 37th round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue was held in Brussels on 1-2 April. The Dialogue was opened by the EU Special Representative on Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, who stressed the importance of the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights.
The two-day programme allowed for open discussions on a wide range of human rights related issues in China and in the EU. The European Union and China explored areas for enhanced cooperation in the future, in particular in UN fora, on issues related to the rights of the child, business and human rights, and counter-terrorism.
The Chinese delegation focused on achievements in economic and social rights, in particular as regards employment, poverty alleviation and social protection. China also emphasised the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of China and stressed its approach to interpreting international laws and standards in the light of its national conditions.
While acknowledging that China has made progress on economic and social rights, the EU insisted that equal weight should be given to political and civil rights. Furthermore, international laws and standards are universal and must be applied accordingly. In this regard, the European Union expects China to expedite the process of ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed by China in 1998, and implement the recommendations of UN human rights bodies.