Tibetan Delegation draw UNHRC’s Focus on Rights Issues in Tibet


June 11, 2008 10:50 am

Tibetan Delegation draw UNHRC’s Focus on Rights Issues in Tibet

Wednesday, 11 June 2008, 10:50 a.m.


(From
right) Tenzin Samphel Kayta, human rights and information officer, The
Tibet Bureau, Geneva, reading out the statement on behalf of Takna
Jigme Sangpo, (C) the longest serving former political prisoner of
Tibet, at the eighth regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in
Geneva, 4 June 2008 (Photos: Tenzin Samphel Kayta)

Geneva: Tibet’s former
political prisoners, including longest serving detainee Takna Jigme
Sangpo and Phuntsog Nyidron have urged the special rapporteur of the UN
Human Rights Council to ensure an independent assessment of the human
rights crisis confronted by the Tibetan people today.

They were addressing the ongoing eighth regular session of the UN Human Rights Council from 2 to 18 June in Geneva.

At the beginning of the session, the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, Louise Arbour who completes her four-year mandate on 30 June
made a final speech updating works of her office to the Council. The
President of Slovenia, Danilo Turk, has also address the Council at the
opening of the session.

Walter Kalin, Representative of the Secretary General on the
human rights of internally displaced persons, presenting his reports,
cited many causes that resulted in people being forced from their homes
and countries, such as conflicts, post-conflict situations, the lack of
durable solutions for resettling displaced people and those displaced
by natural disasters. In past months, he had chosen to focus on people
displaced by natural disasters. The disasters in Myanmar and China
reminded everyone of the vulnerabilities of populations with regards to
natural disasters.

Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions, said that his report focused on the role of
national commissions of inquiry as a response to allegations of
extrajudicial executions. Such inquiries were far too often a facade
designed to protect impunity. On his visits to various prisons around
the world, he said that the experience had been often shocking.
Detainees, sometimes not even charged, were kept in conditions dogs
would not be kept in. The Council should act urgently and appoint a
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of detainees.

Leandro Despouy, Special Rapporteur on the independence of
judges and lawyers, presenting his report, said that a state of
emergency remained the main source of the violation of the right to a
fair trial. Access to justice provided the respect of other rights.
States had an obligation to guarantee access to justice.

In the afternoon on 2 June, Society for threatened peoples and
Movement Contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peoples jointly
held a parallel event to highlight the urgent human rights situation in
Tibet.

(from right) Geshe Senge reading out the statement of Phuntsog Nyidron, (second from right) former political prisoner of Tibet

The invited speakers were Takna Jigme Sangpo and
Phuntsok Nyidron, former Tibetan political prisoners and Geshe Jampel
Senge, assistant abbot of Tibet Institute, Rikon.

The political prisoners addressed the audience by sharing their
personal inhuman treatments endured during incarceration for 32 and 17
years in Chinese administered prison respectively. The crime they have
committed was to express and defend legitimate rights of Tibetan
people.

Over 40 participants including some diplomats took part in this
event. In response to question by one participant relating to Chinese
law on selection of Trulku, he said that traditionally Trulku has to be
selected through dreams and divinations by the enlightened Lama. This
is very complex issue and cannot perform by common people or putting in
place a legal system. He accused Chinese government’s move in attempt
to degenerate Buddhist tradition by putting in place a legal system so
called “order number 5″ meant nothing but to control high Tibetan
spiritual masters especially targeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He
cited Panchen Lama’s case who has been disappeared since May 1995 and
his whereabouts is still unknown to the world. He further emphasised
the sacrilege of forcing people to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama
whom we regard as a refuge. Thus, it is similar to condemning or
disowning your own parents. At the same time, a video footage of the
ongoing protests in Tibet was screened.

On 3 June, Tenzin Samphel KAYTA on behalf of Society for
Threatened Peoples took the floor during interactive dialogue with
Special Rapporteur on ‘Independence Judges and Lawyers’. He said “In
early April, the President of the Beijing Bar Association claimed that
they would use their wisdom to smash the “rice bowl” for those lawyers
who signed their names on the statement-offer to Tibetans. Wen Haibo, a
lawyer with the Yitong law firm in Beijing, was one of 21 lawyers who
signed the statement. In an interview with Epoch Times on 4 April, Wen
said: “We believe Tibetans may encounter greater cultural and legal
difficulties. With these considerations in my mind, I feel, as a
lawyer, I have the obligation to provide some free legal assistance to
them. Today thousands of Tibetans detained since 10 March are
languishing in overcrowded prisons all over the Tibetan Plateau without
any legal protection or representations. Therefore, we wish to know how
the Special Rapporteur is monitoring this grave situation?”

On 4 June afternoon, Takna Jigme Sangpo and Phuntsog Nyidron’s
statements were read in their presence in the ongoing session on behalf
of Society for Threatened Peoples and France Libertes respectively
during general debate in the Council. However, the statement wasn’t
allowed to read in Tibetan language despite past practice of the then
UN commission on Human Rights.

(from
left) Ngawang, Phuntsog Nyidron, Takna Jigme Sangpo, Tenzin Samphel and
Geshe Senge during the 8th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in
Geneva on 4 June.

Mr. Takna while referring to his personal sufferings
during imprisonment, he urged the Council “to live up to your
responsibilities by ensuring an independent assessment of the human
rights crisis confronted by the Tibetan people today. He concluded his
speech by praying for the end of the suffering of all the detainees in
this world.

In her statement, Phuntsog Nyidron said “security agents beat
us like punching bags, tortured our naked bodies with electric
cattle-prods and killed our colleagues through such inhuman methods. In
some cases, trained dogs were set free to attack our naked bodies!
Tibetan women, especially nuns have taken a prominent role in the
Tibetan Uprising today again face State-violence.”

According to Tibetan Community in Switzerland and
Liechtenstein’s press release, Tibetans and its supporters have been
staging peaceful protest in front of the UN building since 2 June when
the UN Human Rights Council began its 8th regular session in Geneva.
The protest aims to draw attention of members of the UN in particular
and also international community on the current tragic human rights
situation in Tibet.

–Report filed by Tenzin Samphel Kayta, Human Rights and Press/Information Officer, The Tibet Bureau, Geneva