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U.N., China ink deal for ratifying human rights convention.

BEIJING, Aug. 31 Kyodo

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and a senior Chinese official signed Wednesday an agreement aimed at easing Beijing's ratification of the main international agreement guaranteeing civil liberties.

Arbour and Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang signed the deal on the third day of Arbour's five-day visit to the country, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner said in a statement.

The agreement is designed not only to help China ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but also to help China implement U.N. committee recommendations on economic, social and cultural rights, the statement said.

The covenant is a 29-year-old agreement that calls on nations to let their people freely determine their political status and not be arbitrarily arrested. China signed the agreement in 1998, but has not ratified it.

Western governments and overseas monitoring agencies have criticized China for arresting Christian worshipers, putting down separatist activities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwestern China and imprisoning people for publishing anti-Communist political views or organizing public protests.

Under the agreement signed Wednesday, the high commissioner's office and China will carry out projects to assist China find alternative penalty measures to imprisonment and help the country revise its criminal procedure law, the statement said.

It would also help incorporate human rights education into the curricula of primary and secondary schools as well as universities and the education for public servants, and help Chinese authorities as they study the possibility of establishing a national human rights institution, the statement said.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Sep 5, 2005
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