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World Insights: Belt and Road Initiative promotes global wellbeing, human rights

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Under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has contributed a lot to advancing global human rights and welfare through inclusive international cooperation, said experts worldwide while commenting on a latest BRI report.

The report, titled “For a Better World — Looking at the Past Decade of Jointly Pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative from a Human Rights Perspective,” was released by the China Foundation for Human Rights Development and Xinhua’s think tank New China Research last week.

By using a large number of cases and data, the report demonstrates the positive role of the BRI in helping local people better realize their rights to survival and development and achieve broader human rights protection in the past decade, and summarizes the inspiration of the BRI for global human rights governance.

“The Xinhua study … offers an excellent overview of the enormous contributions of the BRI to global wellbeing and the fulfillment of fundamental economic and cultural rights,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University in the United States.

Taking the landmark projects the China-Laos Railway and Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway as examples, Wirun Phichaiwongphakdee, director of the Thailand-China Research Center of the Belt and Road Initiative, said the BRI enabled the world to achieve unprecedented connectivity.

The think tank report, Phichaiwongphakdee said, has made the world see the contribution of the BRI to the development of human society, and also let developing countries “that have long been suppressed by Western countries on human rights” see China’s success on the path of human rights development.

While driving economic growth and improving infrastructure construction in participating countries, primarily in developing countries, the BRI has also improved the living standards of their people, said Decio Machado, an international political analyst and a Spanish citizen who has been living in Ecuador for years.

Its philosophy of putting people first and promoting cooperative development brings positive forces to the development of human rights, fairness, and social justice, solidifying the foundation of human rights development, he added.

“I fully agree with the report’s description that the cooperative construction of the Belt and Road conforms to the strong desire of people of partner countries to live a better life,” said Rafael Quintero, former deputy foreign minister of Ecuador.

Echoing Quintero’s point, Mohammed al-Jubouri, professor of media at the Baghdad-based al-Iraqia University, said that the report, based on objectivity and professionalism, is very important for giving clear, realistic examples and numbers about what the BRI has achieved.

In Iraq, the BRI contributes to bettering local lives in the fields of energy and education, the professor said, adding that Chinese companies play a vital role in raising Iraq’s electricity and oil production, alleviating the suffering of its people, and increasing its income, while their construction of hundreds of schools ends the lack of schools for Iraqi students.

“A large number of cases and data in the report … proved that the initiative has essentially helped many developing countries overcome their development bottlenecks such as infrastructure deficits,” said Anna Malindog-Uy, vice president of the Manila-based think tank Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies Institute.

“Through those collaborative projects, the Belt and Road cooperation has created more jobs, and provided more vocational training and education opportunities for the people in partner countries, and thus improved their livelihoods in the process of development,” she added.


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