BROWNBACK CRITICIZES UNITED NATIONS’ FAILURE TO CENSURE CHINA, IRAN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS RECORDS

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today criticized the United Nations for failing to censure China and Iran for their grave human rights records.

“I am extremely disappointed in the lack of action by the United Nations,” Brownback said. “Despite clear evidence of serious violations, the U.N. failed to pass resolutions that would have called these countries to account for their egregious behavior on human rights issues.”

China brought a “no action motion” to block consideration of a U.S.-backed resolution, despite compelling evidence presented at the Commission by human rights activists and survivors of abuse.

Brownback has previously met with leaders of China’s underground churches representing millions of Christians in China. He continued, “Christians are being persecuted in China simply for following and sharing their faith. In the last ten years, an estimated 8,900 believers have been arrested and detained and at least three have been tortured to death.”

Brownback also spoke about women who had been tortured and sexually abused to force them to give evidence against Pastor Gong Shengliang of the South China Church, as well as video footage he had seen of the destruction of churches in China.

“There are many Christians suffering appalling brutality for their faith and it is vital the international community respond to the call of the persecuted church of China and to speak out and take up the cause of those who are paying such a high price for their faith,” said Brownback.

Brownback also deplored the decision by the Western block of nations led by the European Union not to table a resolution censuring flagrant human rights violations by Iran’s ruling theocracy.

After visiting Iran late last year, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression Ambeyi Ligabo painted an alarming picture of the rights situation in Iran. “[There was a] climate of fear induced by the systematic repression of people expressing critical views against the authorized political and religious doctrine and the functioning of institutions,” wrote the human rights investigator in a report to the Human Rights Commission.

The State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for year 2003 was even stronger: “The [Iran] Government's poor human rights record worsened, and it continued to commit numerous, serious abuses… Continuing serious abuses included: summary executions; disappearances; torture and other degrading treatment, reportedly including severe punishments such as beheading and flogging; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention...”

Iran's Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi denounced the EU’s “silence and complicity” describing it as “an insult for democrats and human rights defenders in Iran who struggle for basic rights in spite of risks to their freedom.”

“Safeguarding the human rights of Iranians is a critical element of any policy to support Iran’s democracy movement. We must not let the tyrannical mullahs of Iran get off the hook so easily,” said Brownback.

Senator Brownback will chair a hearing on the status of reforms in China in the Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Committee on Foreign Relations, on April 22, 2004, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.



Sam Brownback
United States Senator - Kansas
303 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-6521
http://brownback.senate.gov



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