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Presidency Press Statement on the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, Slovenia, 15 May 2008

The European Union and China held the 25th round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in Brdo, Slovenia, on 15 May 2008. The dialogue was preceded by a legal seminar on 13-14 May, which focused on the right to health and children's rights. This was the first such seminar since 2006 and it provided a platform for constructive discussions among Chinese and European academics and officials as well as international NGOs specialised in these topics.

During the dialogue meeting on 15 May, senior officials from China and the EU discussed a wide range of human rights issues. Special attention was given to questions related to freedom of expression, the rights of minorities, in particular in Tibet, and cooperation in UN fora.

The European Union called on China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to abolish the Re-education through Labour system and to release the remaining Tiananmen prisoners. China reiterated its commitment to ratify the ICCPR as soon as appropriate reforms to its judicial system had been put in place. The EU welcomed the drop in executions during 2006 and 2007 and requested that China make public statistics on death sentences and executions.

The EU expressed its disquiet over the continuing restrictions on freedom of expression in China, including on press freedom and on the internet. In this context the EU raised the issue of the implementation of the regulations on foreign journalists. Furthermore, the EU emphasised its serious concern regarding the situation of human rights defenders and petitioners.

The EU underlined its deep anxiety about the human rights and humanitarian situation in Tibet following recent events. China reiterated in detail its customary position on the situation in Tibet and the role of the Dalai Lama, while noting that the door to further talks remained open.

The next round of the dialogue is scheduled to take place under the French Presidency in Beijing during the second half of 2008.


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Date: 16.05.2008