Published By Tenzin Saldon

Geneva Human Rights Forum 2018-CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay addressing the opening session Photo © Niels Ackermann / Lundi13 / DIIR/CTA/Geneva

Geneva: Four days ahead of China’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), experts, advocates and civil society groups encourage each other to be hopeful that China will be held accountable.

A forum on human rights situation in regions under People’s Republic China (PRC), was held in Geneva, Switzerland on November 2, 2018.

Experts, activists, and academics from all over the world were invited to talk about the human rights situations in Tibet, East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia, and Hong Kong.

The panel sessions discussed the challenges and the solutions for the UN human rights institutions in holding China accountable for its gross human rights violations given China’s economic power.

Member of National Parliament, Switzerland, Lisa Mazzone, was the Special Chief Guest of the forum who expressed concerns that Switzerland holds the largest number of Tibetans in Europe, yet the Swiss government has signed a trade agreement with China without a single mention of human rights.

“Our [Swiss] government has not welcomed His Holiness the Dalai Lama since 2005, and is deepening ties with China. This for me is unacceptable,” said MP Mazzone. She went on to assure her “full support” for the Tibetan people and restoring human rights in Tibet and China.

The purpose of the forum is to “coordinate our activities to hold China accountable at the UN,” said Representative of the Geneva Office of Tibet, Ngodup Dorjee.

CTA President Lobsang Sangay warned, “The Chinese Communist Party is already here at the UN, in Europe, and in fact, all around the world. Either we change them or they will change you.”

Permanent Missions to the UN from various countries were also present.

From civil society groups, the forum saw reputable human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch, Human Rights in China, Freedom House, and among others.

As a unique mechanism of the UN, the UPR assesses the human rights record of its Member States every four years. China’s was reviewed for the first time in 2009 and for the second time in 2013. China’s third UPR is due on November 6, 2018.

The three specific panel discussions were on Human Rights Situation within the PRC under the CCP rule; Situation of Tibetans, Mongols, Uyghurs and the case of Hong Kong; and Challenges to the UN Human Rights institutions in engaging with China.

Tibetan filmmaker and activist Golog Jigme delivered a witness account as a human rights defender.

The Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) and the Office of Tibet Geneva and jointly organized the forum.

-Report filed by Office of Tibet, Geneva

Geneva Human Rights Forum 2018- Ms Lisa Mazzone and CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay at the opening session Photo © Niels Ackermann / Lundi13 / DIIR/CTA/ Geneva

Geneva Human Rights Forum 2018- Guest attendees at the Forum . Photo © Niels Ackermann / Lundi13 / DIIR/CTA/ Geneva

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