Kalon T C Tethong on China Resolution at UNHRCPRESS MEETING ON CHINA RESOLUTION
United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
18 April, 2001
China has violated the human rights of the Tibetan people for over fifty years in a most brutal way. We have raised the situation of human rights in Tibet before the UN Commission on Human Rights since 1989 to seek the censure of China at the highest UN human rights forum. We will continue with this effort on behalf of the victims of human abuses in Tibet and China.
We remain grateful that the United States of America has again submitted a China resolution to censure Beijing for its continued human rights abuses in China and Tibet at this year’s Commission session. But we remain deeply disappointed that the EU and like-minded western countries have chosen not to co-sponsor the China resolution. We believe such a stand on the part of these countries is contrary to their human rights principles.
As many of you know, the human rights situation in Tibet has not improved. You also know that the human rights situation in Tibet is totally different from that of China. In Tibet, human rights violations are interpreted as being committed under as institutionalised and racially motivated perception of the Chinese authorities.
In spite of all the rhetoric from Beijing that the Tibetans in Tibet are enjoying the fruits of China’s economic success, the reality on the ground is that the Tibetans live in constant fear of discrimination and lack of legal safeguard for defending their economic, social and cultural rights. The so-called Western Development Project being pursued by Beijing endangers the environment of the Tibetan plateau and the survival of the religious, cultural and national identity of the Tibetan people.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetans remain consistent on our approach to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the Tibet issue through dialogue with the Chinese authorities. However, we remain deeply concerned about the sincerity of the Chinese leadership to resolve our differences through negotiated settlement on the future of Tibet.
In this regard it is ironic that at the Commission, China insists on dialogue to resolve differences on human rights issues, but on the issue of Tibet, Beijing refuses to engage in any substantive efforts to resolve the issue of Tibet.
The signing of MOU between the Chinese authorities and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and China’s ratification of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, are being seen as a positive developments. But this gesture does not mean that the Chinese authorities are committed to implementing the substance of the documents. Similarly, we remain concerned about China’s co-operation with the mechanism of the Commission when Beijing has failed to receive the Special Rapporteur on Torture for the past three years.
In the light of the above, we believe the Commission on Human Rights is the legitimate body to scrutinise China’s record on human rights if the UN body wishes to preserve its credibility. This UN forum should not be selective in its condemnation of countries, big or small, when such nations are responsible for gross and systematic violation of human rights.
Kalon Tsewang Choegyal Tethong
Central Tibetan Administration