UN experts alarmed by reprisals against human rights activists in ChinaListen /
A group of United Nations Human rights experts has expressed concern about reports that Chinese human rights defenders have suffered reprisals for seeking to participate in an upcoming review of China's human rights record.
The activists have been reportedly threatened, arrested or banned from taking part in demonstrations or stopped from leaving China in the run-up to this month's second review of China's human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council through its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism.
The review will take place on 22 October 2013 in Geneva.
"Intimidating civil society members who seek to contribute to such an important international dialogue is completely unacceptable," the experts said adding that the "free participation of civil society actors, including human rights defenders, and other national stakeholders, in this process is crucial."
UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Maina Kiai said impeding people's demands to participate in the UPR process constitutes a breach of China's international obligations.
UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, said access to information and an open space for the free exchange of opinions and ideas are essential to ensure a proper review of the human rights record of any country.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.