DAILY CATHOLIC WEDNESDAY October 7, 1998 vol. 9, no. 196
NEWS & VIEWS
CHINA SIGNS UN HUMAN RIGHTS PLEDGE AS RUSSIA VOWS TO STOP KOSOVO MILITARY ACTION
BEIJING (CWNews.com) - The Communist Chinese government on Monday signed a United Nations treaty enshrining human rights standards for the most populous country in the world.
Human rights groups and foreign governments welcomed the decision, but advocated prudent observation for signs that China will uphold its pledge. "Since China is currently in violation of almost every article of the covenant, we hope its decision to sign indicates a change in human rights practices," said Sidney Jones of Human Rights Watch. "The test will be in the implementation."
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights defines the right of self-determination, prohibits torture, and provides for freedom of movement, religion, expression, and association. A Chinese government spokesman said he did not know when the treaty would be ratified by the government. Spokesman Zhu Bangzao said legislative ratification "takes time."
Meanwhile to the north in Moscow, even as NATO countries tempered their threats of military action as Serbian forces withdrew from the breakaway Balkan province of Kosovo, Russia warned on Tuesday that it would veto any move by the United Nations to authorize air strikes.
President Boris Yeltsin warned NATO that the use of force in the region would cause a serious diplomatic breach with Russia. Serbian police and military forces have been accused of human rights atrocities in Kosovo against the ethnic Albanian majority as it seeks to quell a rising independence movement. Yeltsin engaged in telephone diplomacy as he talked with German Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroeder, US President Bill Clinton, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and French President Jacques Chirac.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia
holds a binding veto vote against any resolution that comes
before the body. "(Russia) would definitely use its right of
veto," Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told Interfax news
agency when asked how it would react if the matter was
raised at the UN Security Council. "A military strike will
not help normalize the situation but will have the opposite
effect," he said.
Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
NEWS & VIEWS