Canberra: The Australian All-Party Parliamentary Tibet Group (AAPPGT) on Thursday, 16 November, wrote to Foreign Minister Penny Wong urging her to raise the Sino-Tibet conflict and China’s appalling human rights record at the UN Periodical Review on China due to take place in January 2024.
The Co-chairs of AAPPGT comprising Senator Dean Smith, Susan Templeman MP and Senator Janet Rice have appealed to the Foreign Minister to “ensure that Australia’s submission to China’s Universal Periodic Review directly references ‘Tibet‘ and ‘Tibetan‘ rather than using terms such as “ethnic minorities” or “religious minorities“, which are the terms encouraged by the Chinese government”.
The letter calls attention to the abolishment of a number of human rights concerns in Tibet, some of which are, the vast network of residential boarding schools imposed on Tibetan children to acculture and deprive them of the opportunity to acquaint themselves with Tibetan culture and national identity. The Parliamentary Group for Tibet expressed concern about the programs of forced labour under the pretext of “vocational training programs” and “voluntary labour transfer” to politically indoctrinate Tibetans. Furthermore, it appeals to the Australian government to call out China’s rigorous interference in the selection and installation of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including the reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama. It acknowledged that such right is determined solely by the “Tibetan people, in accordance with international human rights law”. The Co-chairs of AAPPGT repealed the “Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism” and the “Religious Affairs Regulations of 2017”.
The letter concludes with the members expressing hope for Australia to uphold the integrity of the UPR process and Australia’s commitment to human rights by making a strong submission on behalf of Tibetans suffering and not compromise that effort to repair Australia’s trade relationship with China.