Published By Tenzin Saldon

UN Experts Question China’s Discriminatory Policies in Issuing Passport for Tibetans. Photo/Human Rights Watch

Dharamshala: A group of UN experts sought additional information and comment from the Chinese government on its “two-track” passport issuing system that systematically discriminates and obstructs Tibetans from acquiring passports.

The experts have raised their concern yesterday, just on the day that the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has started reviewing anti-discriminatory practices in China.

In a 5-page joint written communication that the experts have brought to the attention of the Chinese leadership, the experts have expressed their “serious concern over the policies and legislation of the two-track passport system specifically targeting and discriminating against members of the Tibetan minority”. The experts have also raised China’s restriction on Tibetans’ freedom of movement as well as travel outside the region in the exercise of freedom of religion.

“This passport system, currently in place, restricts Tibetans’ freedom to movement and has also prevented them from exercising their religious beliefs, particularly with regard to those attending the teachings of the Dalai Lama in other countries”, said the experts in the written intervention.

The experts raised series of issues including the Chinese authorities forcibly summoning Tibetans, who had travelled to attend the teaching of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return to their respective areas within the stipulated period. Those who failed to comply the order were threatened to face severe consequences with families. The experts also expressed their concern about “passport seizure and the failure to re-issue passports of Tibetans”. Furthermore, the experts also noted their “grave concern” caused by the “interrogation, arrest, detention and conditions of detention of numerous Tibetans in relation to the passports system and travel for religious purposes”.

The discriminatory and difficulties in procuring passports for Tibetans due to state-backed “two track” passport issuing system in Tibetans areas is one of the main concerns that the Tibet Bureau and Human Rights Desk, DIIR have raised in their written submission to the Committee, July this year. Similarly, China’s monitoring and surveillance of Tibetans in Tibet through grid management system, travel restrictions, discriminatory practices in issuing passports was one of four pressing issues that were raised during a week-long UN advocacy work undertaken by the Tibet Bureau, Geneva and DIIR earlier this year and also in 2017.

Report filed by UN & Human Rights Desk, DIIR

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