Home World News Commentary: BRI: a decade of advancing human rights on global scale

Commentary: BRI: a decade of advancing human rights on global scale

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Seventy-five years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document in the history of human rights, was published, global human rights and development are still beset with formidable challenges of persistent issues such as hunger, war, environmental pollution, and a widening development gap.

Over the past decade, the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become a highly popular international public good, a global cooperation platform, and a path to happiness, aiding partner countries in promoting human rights protection and achieving a better life.

The BRI meets the practical demand of the international community for “promoting development through cooperation, and human rights through development.”

Since its launch in 2013, the BRI, operating based on peaceful cooperation and mutual benefit, brings together more than three-quarters of the world’s countries and over 30 international organizations.

It has had a positive influence on promoting the rights to subsistence and development — rights that are particularly essential and pressing in developing nations representing over 80 percent of the global population.

Underscored in multiple internationally recognized documents, including the Declaration on the Right to Development in 1986 and the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action in 1993, the right to development has become a universally recognized fundamental human right in the international community.

By fostering economic and social development through collaborative projects, the BRI has contributed to ensuring the right to subsistence worldwide by improving living conditions and healthcare, generating employment, and boosting incomes.

Examples from Burundi, where Chinese agricultural technology experts have expanded rice cultivation to ensure ample food for local people, and Senegal, where a China-financed well-sinking project addresses the water needs of one-seventh of its population, showcase the BRI’s commitment to tackling global issues of hunger and inadequate drinking water.

On poverty alleviation, projections from the World Bank indicate that, by 2030, the BRI is expected to lift 7.6 million people in partner countries out of extreme poverty and 32 million people out of moderate poverty.

Medical services have also seen a significant boost through BRI cooperation, as evidenced by projects including the Chinese-aided Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters, which will be the first institution of its kind on the African continent equipped with advanced laboratory facilities once its construction is completed.

In the meantime, the right to work of people in BRI partner countries has been protected through BRI cooperation, with entities like the Smederevo Steel Plant in Serbia saved from bankruptcy and projects like the China-Laos Railway initiated to create substantial jobs for locals.

Education, another fundamental human right, is also promoted through BRI cooperation. Since 2016, China has established “Luban Workshops” in over 20 BRI countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe, offering programs in industrial robotics, new energy, the Internet of Things, and other specialized fields. They have trained more than 12,000 people.

Environmental rights are not overlooked, with the BRI emphasizing green development and ecological cooperation. Projects such as the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway highlight the initiative’s dedication to protecting the environment and fostering harmonious economic, social, and ecological development.

A series of endeavors have been made to foster ecological and environmental cooperation among partner countries under the BRI. For instance, China has jointly launched the “Belt and Road” green development partnership initiative with 31 partner countries and established the “Belt and Road” energy partnership with 32 partner countries.

A program dedicated to strengthening green talent development has trained over 3,000 people from more than 120 partner countries.

As a comprehensive effort that contributes significantly to global human rights development, the BRI is entering its second decade. There is a positive anticipation that it will continue to make new contributions to a better world where all people of all countries can enjoy broader, more adequate, and more comprehensive rights and achieve all-inclusive development at a higher level.

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