Beijing, 3 November 2003 Press release

China intends to cooperate more closely with UN human rights institutions


Ferrero-Waldner presents Human Rights Manual to the Chinese Foreign Minister

Beijing, 3 November 2003 - After her talks with the Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing in Beijing today, Austrian Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner stated - as already expressed at the EU-China summit last week - that Austria as an EU Member State welcomed the human rights dialogue with China. "It creates a central communication medium with regard to human rights and a forum not only for constructive debate with China on important general human rights issues but also for discussion of individual concrete cases of human rights violations. In this connection I welcome China’s announcement that she will cooperate more closely with the UN human rights institutions," the Foreign Minister stated.

In the opinion of Ferrero-Waldner, respect for human rights starts at the local and national level, the common denominator and basis for this being a solid knowledge of human rights. For this reason, the Foreign Minister considers it of increasing importance that the population in general and all personages in public life in particular should possess a profound knowledge of human rights issues. "An important instrument in this context is human rights education, which I have been promoting in all areas of politics and society both in Austria and at the international level," Ferrero-Waldner said.

Human rights education was therefore one of the designated priorities within the framework of the Austrian chairmanship of the Human Security Network in 2002-2003, a concrete result being the drawing up of an internationally applicable Manual on Human Rights Education. The manual is aimed at a large variety of target groups, but above all at young people and military and police forces. As Ferrero-Waldner pointed out, the Human Security Network is currently making an intensive effort to propagate this basic teaching aid throughout the world.

Together with a training programme on promoting children’s rights in conflict and post-conflict situations, which had also been adopted at this year’s Ministerial Meeting of the Human Security Network in Graz, Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner today presented an English copy of the Human Rights Manual to her Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing, saying: "It gives me great satisfaction that with the cooperation of Beijing University this manual, besides other world languages, will now also be translated into Chinese."