Countries call for attaching greater importance to economic, social and cultural rights

China on Friday joined several other countries in highlighting the importance of economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights) at a United Nations (UN) session, saying that the current imbalance between ESC rights and civil and political rights has undermined the promise for a world free from fear and want and further exacerbated inequality.

Chen Xu, head of the Chinese Mission to the UN in Geneva, delivered a joint statement at the ongoing 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Friday on behalf of the core group of the resolution on promoting and protecting ESC rights within the context of addressing inequalities, which consists of Bolivia, Egypt, Pakistan, South Africa and China.

Chen said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not place one single human right over another, and countries should not pursue them in an imbalanced and hierarchical manner.

He stressed that all parties should uphold constructive dialogue and cooperation based on equality and mutual respect and strive for a balanced approach to promoting human rights, including ESC rights.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk on Friday released his report on ESC rights and COVID-19 recovery at the council, stressing that without ESC rights, people cannot fully participate in civil and political life.

Globally, public spending on ESC rights is woefully insufficient, he told the council, adding that by 2030, 84 million children will be out of school, and 300 million will not complete primary school and achieve minimal learning proficiency.

Last year, about 2 billion workers in the world were in precarious informal employment, with no social security, and another 2 billion were facing catastrophic or impoverishing health spending, he said.

Globally, almost 600 million people are projected to face hunger by 2030, 2 billion live without access to clean and safe drinking water, and global poverty has risen for the first time in over 20 years, he added.

Turk said under current trends, by 2030, some 574 million people, or nearly 7 percent of the world's population, will be trapped in extreme poverty.

"We are committed to playing our part and count on your support, practical action and cooperation to improve the situation of economic, social and cultural rights of all people, everywhere," he said.

(With input from Xinhua)

(Cover: Head of the Chinese Mission to the UN at Geneva Chen Xu (L) talks with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk before the opening of the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, September 11, 2023. /CFP)

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