February 11, 2009
David Matas and David Kilgour expressed regret that China has chosen to reject so quickly so many basic recommendations made in the report of the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, released today. David Matas stated:
“We are dismayed China has chosen systematically to reject those recommendations which would prevent the killing of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs to be used in transplants and which would make possible the bringing to justice any perpetrators of this abuse.”
Matas and Kilgour condemned the Government of China for its refusal (Report paragraph 117) to support the UPR recommendations to:
1. guarantee all citizens of China the exercise of religious freedom, freedom of belief and freedom of worshipping in private [paragraph 43(h)]. As Canada in its statement to the Working Group noted, respect for this freedom includes respecting the freedom of belief of the Falun Gong;
2. publish death penalty statistics [paragraph 28(c), 31(b), 42(b), 56(c), 86(b), 96(a)]. As the UN rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak and UN rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Asma Jahangir have both pointed out, the provision of these statistics is necessary to determine if any explanation can be given for the discrepancy in the number of transplants between the years 2000 to 2005 and the numbers from identifiable sources of organs for transplants other than Falun Gong practitioners.
3. abolish all forms of arbitrary detention [paragraphs 28(d), 43(a), 82(e), 92(c)]. The detention of large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners without charge and without information about their location facilitates their abuse.
4. implement the recommendations of the Committee against Torture of November 2008 [paragraph 28(g)]. The Committee had recommended that China conduct or commission an independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and used for organ transplants and take measures, as appropriate, to ensure that those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and punished,
5. take effective measures to ensure that lawyers can defend their clients without fear of harassment [paragraph 79(a)]. Lawyer Gao Zhisheng who has defended Falun Gong clients has been tortured and disappeared. He was released briefly last week and, after he released a statement about his torture, was rearrested.
David Matas and David Kilgour are co-authors of the report "Bloody Harvest: Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China" released in revised form in January 2007. David Kilgour is a former Minister of State for Asia an the Pacific in the Government Canada. David Matas is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; he attended the fourth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review February 2 - 13, 2009 in Geneva.
For further information contact David Matas at