UN committees prepare Lists of Issues to guide ESC rights and women's rights reviews of China; Questions on Business & Human Rights and Belt & Road included
"China | UN experts ask hard questions about ESC rights, women's rights", 6 May 2021
Members of the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights met in March 2021 to prepare two ‘Lists of Issues’ to guide their respective reviews of the People’s Republic of China.
You can read the List of Issues for CEDAW here, and for CESCR here. ISHR also prepared an explainer document available in English, Mandarin, and Spanish, on the work done by the CESCR, which rights it protects, and how can civil society engage with the Committee. [...]
Upholding business and human rights and climate justice, including in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative
It’s not just Chinese groups that have an interest in seeing China do better at upholding its obligations.
Impacts on rights of individuals and communities overseas was a key focus of reports by civil society coalitions, joined by ISHR, from Latin America and Africa/Asia, as well as Central Asia and the Balkans. The Committee requested more information on:
- The status of human rights due diligence by Chinese investors and businesses, as well as steps for incorporating human rights due diligence into the environmental, social and governance reporting framework of the Hong Kong stock exchange
- Mechanisms for monitoring and compliance with existing (voluntary, sectoral) guidelines for enterprises, including state-owned enterprises, as well as transparency in reporting
- Measures taken to ensure access to remedy for non-national victims of abuse linked to companies domiciled in China or Hong Kong, including examples of specific cases
- Specifically on the Belt and Road Initiative, measures to address debt sustainability and negative impacts on the environment and other ESC rights
- Efforts to ensure that loans through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and other financial institutions do not result in ‘unjustified retrogression in the enjoyment of Covenant rights’
- Procedures for human rights impact assessments of development assistance and trade agreements
- Measures to ensure that operations and investments by Chinese entities do not hinder the efforts of recipient countries to address adverse impacts of climate change
Of course, Chinese companies should be operating responsibly within China as well.
The experts asked about free, prior and informed consent for Tibetan herders, as well as measures to protect against environmental degradation due to infrastructure and extractive activities in Tibet. They also asked how Chinese authorities make sure employers will address sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace. [...]