April 12, 2011
   Posted in News Flash
Published By Tashi

UN expert body expresses concern about the case of the Panchen Lama and arrests in China[Monday, 11 April 2011, 5:23 p.m.]

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama/File Photo

The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances last
Friday expressed its concern on the recent waves of arrest made in
China including the case of Panchen Lama.Highlighting the case
of Panchen Lama, the UN press statement said, “A case going back 16
years is that concerning Gedhun Choekyi Nyima known as the 11th Panchen
Lama. He disappeared in 1995 when he was six years old. While the
Chinese authorities have admitted taking him, they have continually
refused to divulge any information about him or his whereabouts, making
his case an enforced disappearance. A number of human rights mechanisms
including the UN Committee Against Torture, the UN Committee on the
Rights of the Child, as well as Special Rapporteur on Freedom of
Religion or Belief, have all called for his whereabouts to be revealed,
to no avail.”Western governments and European Union have also
urged China to provide information on Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. However,
the Chinese authorities have failed to provide concrete rather than
rhetoric response by saying “he is not the “Panchen Lama” but merely an
ordinary Tibetan child.”The UN Group called on the Chinese
authorities to release all those who have been disappeared and to
provide full information on the fate and the whereabouts of the persons
who have allegedly disappeared.“Enforced disappearance is a
crime under international law. Even short-term secret detentions can
qualify as enforced disappearances,” the UN expert body said. “There
can never be an excuse to disappear people, especially when those
persons are peacefully expressing their dissent with the Government of
their country.”The Working Group has recently received multiple
reports of a number of persons having being subject to enforced
disappearance, including lawyers Teng Biao, Tang Jitian, Jiang
Tianyong, and Tang Jingling.The Working Group said that “there
is a pattern of enforced disappearances in China, where persons
suspected of dissent are taken to secret detention facilities, and are
then often tortured and intimidated, before being released or put into
“soft detention” and barred from contacting the outside world.According
to the Working Group, “persons subject to enforced disappearances
appear to be human rights activists, lawyers and students. These
enforced disappearances represent the continuation of a disturbing
trend in the suppression of dissidents”. However there are older cases
that the Working Group continues to monitor, a few of which are
indicated below as a representative sample.The Working group
said, “China has an obligation to abide by the strictest standards in
the field of human rights. It also should fully cooperate with the UN
special procedures and in particular with the Working Group.”The
UN Working Group was established in 1980 to assist families in
determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives. It
comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world.-Report filed by Tenzin Samphel Kayta, OoT, Geneva

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