GENEVA: The UN Human Rights council is holding 20th session in Geneva from 18 June till 6 July. This council will discuss on number of reports submitted by UN Special Procedure mandate holders on thematic and country visits.
In preparation for the above HRC session, Tibet Bureau had met senior diplomats from 14 different countries. They were thoroughly briefed on the present grim human rights situation and presented recommendations for consideration. They all expressed concern over what’s happening inside Tibet with no international monitoring observer on the ground. And also assured their continued support in protecting fundamental rights of Tibetan people.
During interactive dialogue with report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Mr. Tenzin Samphel KAYTA on behalf of Society for Threatened Peoples took the floor and said “we welcome the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association’s report in which he expresses utmost concern on peaceful assemblies that were either not allowed or violently dispersed in a number of countries, including China.
He further said that the human rights situation in all Tibetan regions have been deteriorating following the March 2008 widespread protests by Tibetan people. He informed the Council that after more than 300 peaceful protests by Tibetans, it has now been documented that the Chinese authorities had sentenced over 549 Tibetans from 6 months to 20 years imprisonment, 2 executed, 12 given life sentence, 5 received suspended death sentence and many disappeared for taking part in protest.”
While referring to the six UN independent experts’ statement in November last year on the situation at Kirti Monastery and China’s violent suppression of Tibetan protests in Luhou, Seda and Rangtang, he said many Tibetans including monks and nuns have resorted to self-immolation protests “calling for freedom” and “return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet”.
Xinhua news agency reported today that a Tibetan herder died and another one was seriously injured after self-burning on wednesday in northwest China’s Qinghai Province. So far 41 Tibetan monks, nuns and laypeople set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese repressive policies and demanding their basic rights and over 30 self-immolators reportedly dead.
He called upon the Chinese authorities to “provide as soon as possible detailed responses to all the concerns raised in the other communications due to the grave nature of the allegations received with respect of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association to the SR on right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”
A Chinese diplomat who reaffirmed the Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration for its citizen. He challenged by saying for the past more than five decades, the Tibetan people, like the Mongolians and Uyghurs and Chinese have struggled to exercise their rights to freedom of assembly and of association. This struggle continues despite the Chinese authorities continue to bar and restrict without hesitation any form of peaceful public assembly of dissent. He refer to the last week incident where thousands of Tibetans gathered at the funeral of a Tibetan nomad who self-immolated on 15 June but China responded to cremation by displaying force and deployed more troops. Such action can be termed provocative and intimidating the Tibetan people.
He echoed the Special Rapporteur’s call for the Chinese authorities to refrain using force during peaceful demonstrations and call upon the Chinese authorities to positively respond the Special Rapporteur’s request for a visit made last year.
He concluded by refuting Chinese delegation’s statement to label Tibetan protests as “criminal” despite predominantly peaceful. He urged the Chinese authorities to consider appropriate approach to solve ongoing human rights crisis by adhering to “seeking truth from facts” as advocated by Deng Xiaoping.
UK diplomat expressed concern over situation in the Kirti monastery stated in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
At the side line of this Council session, three UN NGOs had organized a side event to discuss on the recent report of the International Campaign for Tibet titled “60 years of Chinese Misrule – Arguing Cultural Genocide in Tibet.
At the request of Tibet Bureau based in Geneva, Four ECOSOS Non-governmental organizations had submitted written statements on China’s denial of Tibetan children’s rights to education, religious freedom, right to developments and suppression of freedom of expression e.g., attacks on Tibetan intellectuals to the 20th session of the UN Human Rights Council’s attention and necessary action. Read statements 1, 2, 3 and 4.