China and the United Nations
Since its admission to the United Nations (UN) in 1971, China has been an increasingly active participant in the UN system. China is the sixth largest contributor to the UN regular budget, as well as its peacekeeping operations. In addition, it is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and currently holds a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.
Beginning with its ratification of the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1980, China has become a party to six of the nine core human rights treaties of the UN, and is periodically reviewed by the affiliated treaty bodies. As a UN member, China is also required to undergo reviews of its human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council, through its Universal Periodic Review process, and to cooperate with independent human rights experts in the UN system, known collectively as Special Procedures.
The pages listed below provide additional information about China’s engagement with each of these monitoring mechanisms, as well as HRIC’s participation in these processes.
Human Rights Bodies & Procedures of the UN
The UN Human Rights Council is an intergovernmental body comprising 47 member states that meets three times a year in Geneva. The Council is responsible for strengthening and promoting human rights globally, which it does by, among other means, passing resolutions regarding human rights violations, establishing expert mandates to address thematic or country-specific human rights concerns, and periodically reviewing the human rights record of each member state.
The UN system currently has nine core human rights treaties, to which states may voluntarily become party. Each treaty establishes a corresponding committee of independent experts tasked with monitoring state parties’ implementation of the treaty’s provisions and with further defining the scope and nature of these obligations. China is currently party to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CAT), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Special procedures are mandates created by the Human Rights Council to report and provide advice on thematic or country-specific human rights concerns. Special procedures can be either individual experts, referred to as Special Rapporteurs or Independent Experts, or Working Groups generally consisting of five experts each.
China and the United Nations
- Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (No. 6): EN, CH
- Individual Complaint Procedures Under the United Nations Human Rights Treaties (No. 7): EN, CH
- Civil and Political Rights: The Human Rights Committee (No. 15): EN, CH
- The Human Right to Adequate Housing (No. 21): EN, CH
- The International Convention on Migrant Workers and its Committee (No.24): EN, CH
- Forced Evictions (No. 25): EN, CH
- The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (No. 26): EN, CH
- Human Rights Defenders: Protecting the Right to Defend Human Rights (No. 29): EN, CH
- The United Nations Human Rights Treaty System (No. 30): EN, CH
- The Right to Health (No. 31): EN, CH
- Terrorism and Counter-terrorism (No. 32): EN, CH
- Frequently Asked Questions on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (No. 33): EN, CH
- The Right to Water (No. 35): EN, CH
Business and Human Rights
- An introduction to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights 2013: EN
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 2014: EN
- The Corporate Responsibility to Protect Human Rights: An Interpretive Guide 2012: EN, CH
- UN Guiding Principles on Businsess and Human Rights 2011: EN, CH
- Guide on How to Develop a Human Rights Policy 2011: EN
- A Human Rights Management Framework Poster 2010; EN, CH
- Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society: EN, CH
- Civil Society Space and the United Nations Human Rights System - A Practical Guide for Civil Society: EN, CH
- How to Follow Up on United Nations Human Rights Recommendations - A Practical Guide for Civil Society: EN, CH
- United Nations Human Rights Council - A Practical Guide for NGO Participants: EN, CH
- Universal Periodic Review - A Practical Guide for Civil Society: EN, CH
- Human Rights Funds, Grants and Fellowships - A Practical Guide for Civil Society: EN, CH
- Opening Statement by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the Human Rights Council 36th session, September 11, 2017: EN
- Speech by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the 2016 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders Ceremony, Geneva, October 11, 2016: EN
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights China page: EN, CH
- Universal Human Rights Index database of all recommendations made to China: EN
- China and the International Human Rights System, 2012 report by Chatham House: EN
- Universal Rights Group website: EN