The 1st Sino-German Forum on the Development of Human Rights – Peaceful Development and Protection of Human Rights

Event: Society and Politics

The 1st Sino-German Forum on the Development of Human Rights titled “Peaceful Development and Protection of Human Rights” gave experts from China and Germany the opportunity to exchange their views on the question how the experiences of both countries can contribute to the improvement of peaceful development and the protection of human rights on a global level through the strengthening of elements of both international and national law as well as international cooperation and crisis prevention.

On December 8th and December 9th, Prof. Dr. Dirk Hanschel, Chair for Public Law, European and Public International Law at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Dr. Sandra Krähenmann, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and Dr. Frederik von Harbou, Lawyer at the law firm Balcin Künne von Harbou (Berlin) and Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Gießen, visited Beijing to attend the 1st Sino-German Forum on the Development of Human Rights.

The main topic of the conference on December 8th and December 9th “Peaceful Development and Protection of Human Rights” was further subdivided into three subtopics, namely “Possibilities, Challenges and Perspectives of Conflict and Crises Prevention to Enhance Protection of Human Rights and Peaceful Development”, “Crucial Factors for the Protection of Human Rights during Crises and Conflicts” and “The Right of Development and the Protection of Human Rights of Migrants”. Within each of these three panels a Chinese and a European expert gave a presentation, which was followed by a discussion. A final discussion on December 9th summed up the previous panel. It showed that the analyses of the European and Chinese experts differed as most of the Chinese experts claimed that positive human rights need to be achieved first and only then negative human rights can be granted to the people. The European experts denied such a prioritization of positive and negative human rights and underlined that both rights are equally important and have to be granted at the same time.

There was a general conclusion that safeguarding human rights and upholding the need for human rights protection have a vital role to play in crises prevention and in order to maintain regional and global stability. Fragile states and harsh infringement on human rights can foster conflicts which can have destabilizing effects on other world regions as well, the so-called refugee crisis in Europe providing a recent example. European and several of the Chinese experts held different views on the scope of the right to asylum as well as with respect to the role of state sovereignty in situations of imminent or already happening humanitarian catastrophes. Nevertheless, all participants appreciated the attempts to find common ground also with a view to controversial concepts like the responsibility to protect (R2P).

In the end, most speakers and the hosting organizations stressed the important role of the forum in its role as an open and dynamic platform of exchange.

Apart from the conference, the delegation visited the Institute of Law at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the Sino-German Institute of Law at the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) in order to exchange views on current developments in the rule of law in Europe and China in the afternoon of December 9th

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