Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced the hope today that any differences over the awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo of China, which Beijing has opposed, would not detract from promoting the human rights agenda globally or from the prize’s prestige.
“The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo of China is a recognition of the growing international consensus for improving human rights practices and culture around the world,” a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesman said.
“The Secretary-General has consistently emphasised the importance of human rights along with development and peace and security as the three main pillars of the work of the United Nations.
“Over the past years, China has achieved remarkable economic advances, lifted millions out of poverty, broadened political participation and steadily joined the international mainstream in its adherence to recognized human rights instruments and practices.
“The Secretary-General expresses his sincere hope that any differences on this decision will not detract from advancement of the human rights agenda globally or the high prestige and inspirational power of the Award,” it concluded.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called Mr. Liu a “very prominent human rights defender” and said advocates like him make an important contribution to China’s development.
“We welcome this recognition of the very important role human rights defenders play in China, and in many other countries, as well as the challenges they face – also the courage they so often show in speaking up for what they believe in,” she added.