China Fails to Evade Questions on Human Rights Violations in TibetTuesday, 10 February 2009, 3:53 p.m.
Dharamshala: Australia, Canada and other countries expressed their concerns over China’s widespread use of repressive measures in Tibet, as China tried to defend its human rights record during the periodic review by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.China faced serious review of its human rights record under the Universal Periodic Review(UPR) mechanism, established by the Human Rights Council in June 2007. The UPR aims to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.Canada questioned China’s widespread use of the death penalty, a “re-education” through labour program, and arbitrary detention, inhuman treatment of detainees in Tibet and Xinjiang.”Canada is deeply concerned about reports of arbitrary detention of ethnic minority members, including Tibetans, Uighurs, and Mongols, as well as religious believers including Falun Gong practitioners without information about their charges, their location and well being,” said Louis-Martin Aumais, Canada’s representative to the UN.Australia highlighted reports of Chinese harassment, arbitrary arrest, detention and punishment of religious minorities — specifically mentioning Tibetans.The Chinese delegation, led by Ambassador Li Baodong, defended its human-rights record submitted in the form of a report to the UN, which the Amnesty International said “whitewashes its human rights abuses”.Mr Li Baodong described concerns raised by Australia as “some ill-founded comments” and “politicised statement” on the question of Tibet.Russia and Nepal extolled China’s “a big leap forward” in the human rights field, notably in poverty reduction, official Xinhua news agency reported.“While the UN promised to reform itself with a procedure that would hold all countries to account on an objective and equal basis, and help human rights victims worldwide, instead the council has turned into a mutual praise society, giving a free pass to the world’s worst abusers,” said Montreal native Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch.Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, said: “A successful review is one that produces a roadmap of how the Chinese government will work to ameliorate abuses over the coming four years.” “This is a big test for the Human Rights Council,” said Richardson. “Its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, lost a great deal of credibility because of the politicized way in which it considered China’s human rights record. There should be no politics this time around, just a cold, hard look at the situation in China.”“Those members’ decisions to speak should not be dictated by bilateral
issues or fears of how the Chinese government will react, but rather by
the urgent need to address critical human rights issues,” Richardson stressed.