Geneva: The Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) along with Office of Tibet based in Geneva launched a massive campaign ‘Tibet at the United Nations,’ to strengthen advocacy for human rights in Tibet.
A four-member delegation from Dharamsala where carried out an intensive week-long lobbying of over scores of UN permanent missions, the UN Human Rights Council members, Office of UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Special Procedures Mandate Holders.
The delegation also include Nyima Lhamo, niece of late Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche- a prominent Tibetan spiritual leader who died in 2015 while serving life sentence in Chinese prison in Tibet. Nyima Lhamo escaped from Tibet last year and is seeking international investigation into the death of her uncle who she claims died from poisoning in prison.
Tibet was ranked as the 2nd ‘Worst of the Worst’ in Freedom House’s annual ‘Freedom in the World 2016’ report with only Syria scoring lower.
In view of the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet and China’s violation of international human rights law, four pertinent and pressing human rights issues were raised during the week-long lobbying:
- Crackdown on Human Rights Defenders- through arbitrary arrest, unfair sentencing as in the case of late Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche who died of torture in Chinese prison in Tibet, and that of language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk (31) who is charged with inciting separatism and could face up to 15 years in prison for advocating language rights for Tibetans in Tibet.
- Religious repression in Tibet- as in the case of wide-scale demolition of Larung Gar and forced eviction of monks and nuns from the center who are forced to undergo patriotic education. State interference in religious affairs – through administration of monasteries and state control over the Buddhist reincarnation system.
- Enforced and Involuntary disappearance – the case of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the reincarnation of Panchen Lama who disappeared since 1995, at the age of six.
- Monitoring and Surveillance of Tibetans in Tibet-through grid management system, travel restrictions, passport confiscation and discriminatory practices in issuing passports.
The Council President met the delegation during a public event hosted by several civil society organisations, and during his remarks the President assured all of the participants that his office is committed to protecting human rights around the world and that the doors of human rights council are always open to all.
“The UN advocacy work initiated by DIIR, CTA is significant to ensure Tibet remains on the UN Human Rights agenda, especially in the lead up to the 34th UN Human Rights Council Session beginning this month and 3rd cycle of China’s Universal Periodic Review due in November next year,” said Sonam Norbu Dagpo, International Relations Secretary, DIIR.
“DIIR now has a clear five-year strategic plan to leverage the UN mechanisms to effectively engage with UN Missions, UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies And Special Procedures Mechanisms of the Human Rights Council. Most importantly, to make China a responsible member of UN with a sense of ownership and self-accountability,” said Dhardon Sharling, Information Secretary, DIIR.