Geneva: At the ongoing 43rd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Tibet Bureau Geneva staff Thinlay Chukki raised the issue of persecution of the Tibetan cultural rights defenders in Tibet.
The UN expert- Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights Ms Karima Bennoune presented her report on the recognition of cultural rights defenders to the Human Rights Council today. In the report, the special rapporteur emphasized the importance of human rights defenders who defend cultural rights and to increase the attention and assistance they receive.
Taking the floor, Ms Thinlay Chukki speaking on behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples, highlighted the repeated attacks by China to destroy the rich Tibetan cultural heritage since the last 60 plus years with impunity. Drawing the attention of the council to the demolition of Larung Gar and Yachen Gar she said, “the monks and nuns who protested continue to languish in the internment camps undergoing ‘political re-education.’ Just last month a Tibetan nun was driven to commit suicide as she could not bear the torturous life in the camps.”
The Tibetan cultural rights defenders especially working in the field of language and land rights are facing reprisals by the Chinese government. In this regard, Thinlay Chukki highlighted the cases of Tibetan Language Rights Advocates like Tashi Wangchuk, Sonam Palden and others are facing punishments for “raising voice against the Sinicization of Tibetan language and culture.”
Speaking on the illegal land grabs issue, Ms Chukki said, “Tibetans raising voice against land grabs are also being targeted and imprisoned. Last year more than 20 Tibetans advocating for land rights were sentenced by Chinese authorities. A-nya Sengdra a Tibetan nomad defending the rights of local Tibetan nomads was sentenced to 7 years in imprisonment on trumped-up charges last December.”
Concluding her oral statement Thinlay Chukki called for the release of all cultural rights defenders and “press China to cease the harassment and persecution of the defenders and Guarantee them free and fair trials with access to lawyers.” The entire session can be viewed here.
–Filed by Tibet Bureau Geneva