第五十六次会议，2004年7月26 – 8 月13日
European Falun Gong practitioner
During the Session of Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights of the UN Human Rights Commission held in Geneva from 26th July to 13th August 2004, the president of the Worldwide Organization for Women spoke about the issue of the persecution of Chinese Falun Gong practitioners' families and children in the sixth item's discussion on women and human rights. Below is a brief summary of the speech.
Sub-Commission on the Promotion and
Protection of Human Rights
Fifty-sixth session, 26 July – 13 August 2004
Item 6: Specific human rights issues
a) Women and human rights
Child Rights: Separation of the Family
The preamble to the Convention on the Rights of the Child declares that "the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community."
The Worldwide Organization for Women (WOW) cares about the existence of families because, as the preamble states, families are vital to society and important for the healthy development of children—physically, mentally and socially. Unlawful separation of children from their families is a terrible violation of human rights of each family member. Too often, when children are separated from their families, more egregious human rights violations follow. Throughout the world families continue to be torn apart as children are separated from their families through abduction, either of the children or their parents. Three cases may illustrate.
In China, families who practice Falun Gong are suffering. Falun Gong, founded in 1992, is a Chinese spiritual movement based on the beliefs of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance whose believers exercise ritually to obtain mental and spiritual renewal. The practice of Falun Gong was banned in 1999. Vicious persecution has followed leaving families tortured and torn apart. The children themselves suffer as they are sometimes imprisoned with their parents, e.g. a two-year-old boy who was abducted with his parents and grandmother in May 2002 and detained for at least nine months; or they are left alone at home without any supervision, e.g. a 13-year-old-boy whose mother was illegally arrested in 2000 and whose father was tortured to death. Still others, very young, are tortured to death. In 2001, a boy just over six months old, and his mother a practitioner, were arrested and taken to a forced labor camp. At this camp the boy and his mother were violently beaten to death.
These situations violate numerous articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 9 ensures that "a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will ..." and article 35 prohibits "the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in children." Both of these articles have been violated to some degree in Cambodia, China and Uganda. Many additional articles have also been breached including a child's inherent right to life, protection against discrimination based on parents' beliefs, protection from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse, protection from torture and the right of every child to have a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.
The separation and destruction of families is a tragedy in itself, and one that often precedes other shocking human rights violations. Children that are taken from their families and exploited lose their personal dignity, identity and sense of self-worth. When the basic human rights of children are set at naught, the children often experience severe psychological trauma, and the lasting effects of indignities and abuses have an impact decades into the future of the young. In situations where children are separated from their families and taken advantage of, they lose essential opportunities for healthy human development and have lasting negative effects. If we expect to stem the tide of cyclical hatred, violence and abuse, children must be afforded a family environment where they can be nurtured, taught and allowed freedom to develop themselves. Protecting children is an investment in the future of peace.
Mr. Chairman, situations where children's rights are being violated and families torn apart are taking place throughout the world, and we have only mentioned a few. We therefore request that the Commission undertake measures within its power to investigate these situations and promote compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, whether through appointment of a Special Rapporteur, designation of a working group or adoption of a resolution. We must protect our children.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.