GENEVA (20 December 2018) – UN human rights experts* have expressed serious concerns about the deteriorating health of detained human rights defender, Huang Qi, in China.
Mr. Huang, reportedly suffers from high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic kidney condition, and hydrocephalus. These require daily medication, which is not adequately afforded in detention. “Without the required medical treatment, Mr. Huang’s health may continue to deteriorate to a fatal point,” said the experts.
Chinese authorities detained Huang Qi on 28 November 2016 “for inciting subversion of state power”. In April 2018, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued an Opinion which found that his deprivation of liberty was arbitrary and in contravention with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The WGAD’s concerns, as expressed in its Opinion, included allegations that Mr. Huang had been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation, including beatings and standing for prolonged periods. He was forced to confess to offences he had been accused of.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has been in contact with the authorities regarding the case. The Government has responded to the communication leading to the adoption of the Opinion, but has not yet implemented it. More recently, the Government has informed the WGAD that Mr. Huang was being “provided with adequate medical treatment (…) that his illness is under control, and he is in sound state mentally. The alleged torture is inconsistent with facts.”
In the absence of any possibility to independently verify the detainee’s condition the WGAD said its concerns remain. “Once again, we call upon the Government of China to release Mr. Huang immediately and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law,” the experts said.
* The experts: Mr. Seong-Phil Hong, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mr. Dainius Puras, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.
Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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