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China-EU Dialogue On Human Rights Held In Guizhou

The European Union and the People's Republic of China held their 32nd round of the "EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights" in China's southwestern city of Guizhou on Tuesday, according to an EU press release.

The EU delegation to the talks was led by Gerhard Sabathil, Director for East Asia and the Pacific in the EU's European External Action Service (EEAS). The Chinese delegation was led by Li Junhua, Director General for International Organizations and Conferences, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China.

According to an EU statement, Tuesday's dialogue allowed the two sides to have a detailed exchange of views on a wide range of human rights issues, with specific focus on recent developments in China and in the European Union as well as cooperation in international fora and institutions.

"The dialogue was conducted in a frank atmosphere. It provided an opportunity for the EU to express concerns about what is happening in China regarding the rights of persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities; deprivation of liberty, criminal and administrative punishment," the press release said.

During the dialogue, the EU inquired about the measures taken so far by China to ratify the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, signed in 1998, in view of China's undertaking made during the 2009 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to ratify the Covenant at an early date.

The Chinese side also raised a number of questions on the treatment of minorities in Europe, including Roma people and Muslims, as well as specific incidents involving Chinese nationals in some EU Member States.

Chinese delegation also inquired about the extent to which the financial crisis is affecting social and economic rights, including access to healthcare, education and housing, and exacerbating xenophobia in Europe.

Later in the day, the two sides discussed cooperation in international human rights fora, especially in view of China's second UPR on 22 October this year. The two sides also exchanged views on country situations currently on the agenda of the Human Rights Council, including Myanmar, North Korea and Syria.

For the first time, a joint press briefing was organized immediately after the dialogue in Guiyang. The EU and China have yet to fix a date for the next legal experts' seminar, due to take place in September in Beijing.

"As the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue has, with short interruptions, taken place twice annually since 1995, the EU expects the second annual round of the dialogue to be held in Europe in the second half of 2013," the press release added.

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