UN Report Cites Gender-Specific Crimes Against Tibetan Women China Respond to UN Expert on Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Others
Geneva, 14 April 2003: Last week, the Commission on Human Rights debated the item dealing with the integration of the Human Rights of Women and the Gender Perspective-Violence Against Women. In this connection, the report by Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy (Sri Lanka), the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, expressed her concern about the situation of Tibetan women saying: “Women in Tibet continue to undergo hardship and are also subjected to gender-specific crimes, including reproductive rights violations such as forced sterilisation, forced abortion, coercive birth control policies and the monitoring of menstrual cycles. There have been many reports of Tibetan women prisoners facing brutality and torture in custody.”
When the Commission debated the item dealing with civil and political rights, it also received the annual report by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor (Tunisia), the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief established in 1986 by the Commission on Human Rights. The Chinese authorities officially responded to several interventions he made with regard to the situation of religious freedom in Tibet. In this report, Mr. Amor said that the China responded to one of his interventions saying in May 2002, Tamdin Tsering, Asher Dhargye and Tsultrim Dhargye were condemned to one year’s re-education through labour for their involvement in the same criminal case. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Tamdin Tsering and the others were detained for questioning and received penalties strictly because they had violated, or were suspected of having violated, the law and these measures were in no way concerned with their religion or belief. The letter from the Chinese authorities dated 14 November 2002 also informed that Special Rapporteur that on 20 August 2002, the procuratorial authorities had instituted criminal proceedings against Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Phondup (Lobsang Dhondup) for “the crimes of fomenting separatism, causing an explosion and the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.”
On the Special Rapporteur’s intervention over the crackdown at Serthar Buddhist Institute and Yachen Gar Monastery in Eastern Tibet, the Chinese authorities responded that in recent years the management of the Yachen monastery, a centre for propagating the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism, has deteriorated and that it has become seriously overcrowded; the building lack any planning and the problem of unauthorised building has emerged; the surrounding areas is dirty and untidy; and there are serious violations of relevant State laws and regulations, entailing serious threats to safety and health and endangering the lives of the monks, nuns and local people…with regard to Jigme Phuntsok, the local government has made arrangements for his medical treatment and his health condition is now greatly improved.
On the issue of expulsion of thousands of monks and nuns from Serther Institute, the Chinese authorities told the Special Rapporteur that no pressure was placed on any monk or nun to return to secular life nor was any monk or nun placed in detention. On the contrary, the State contributed a considerable amount of money to assist with the resettlement of those monks and nuns who wished to return to their villages and with the reconstruction of the Institute’s buildings.
On 9 and 10 April, under the item dealing with civil and political rights,
the Commission heard two NGO oral statements from Ms. Tsering Jampa and Ms.
Norzin Dolma on behalf of the International Union of Social Youth (IUSY)
and the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) respectively.
Oral statements by NGOs are now restricted to 2 and 1/2 minutes due to time
constraints the Commission is now faced with.
The IUSY statement dealt with the issue of political prisoners in Tibet and
the need for the Chinese authorities to issue a standing invitation to all
thematic special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights. The IFOR
statement informed the Commission about recent developments on religious
freedom in Tibet and called upon the Chinese authorities to invite the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief for a follow-up visit to Tibet and China. The Special Rapporteur officially visited Tibet in November 1994. A written statement by another NGO Society for Threatened Peoples under the civil and political rights item informed the Commission about the status of the independence of the judiciary in China with reference to the case of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Lobsang Dhondup and other Tibetans. This statement (E/CN.4/2003/NGO/255) can be accessed from www.unhchr.ch
Under this item of the Commission’s debate, the Working Group on enforced
or involuntary disappearances in its report under the section on China said:
“Most of the 106 cases of disappearance reported to the Working Group in
the past are said to have occurred between 1988 and 1990, or between 1995
and 1996. The majority of these cases concern Tibetans, 19 of them monks
who were allegedly arrested in Nepal and handed over to the Chinese authorities. Other cases concern persons who reportedly disappeared following celebrations to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region.”
Mr. Ambeyi Ligabo (Kenya), the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and
expression, in his reported regretted that the Chinese authorities did not
respond to his October 2002 letter in which the Special Rapporteur reiterated his wishes to undertake an official visit to China.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in their report to the Commission
welcomed the release of Ngawang Choephel whose detention has been considered
arbitrary by a legal opinion of the Group in 1999. The Working Group made
an official visit to Tibet in October 1997.
On 10 April, a briefing, “Chinese Speak Up Against Chinese Human Rights Abuses” was organised at the United Nations by Transnational Radical Party. Several speakers referred to the situation in Tibet in their statements, including by Mr. Temtsiltu Shobtsood, Chairman of the Inner Mongolian People’s Party. Mr. Chen Nai Liang from the Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars in Germany speaking about China’s education policy told the small gathering that one of China’s approach “to deceive the Han Chinese consists of providing much worse education conditions for Chinese minorities, considered as “less human”. The refusal of teaching native languages to minorities such Tibetans and Uyhurs is only one of the many ways for the Chinese government to intentionally destroy their cultural identity and pride.”
As the Commission concluded its fourth week of work on Friday, Tibetan participants found that this year the Chinese delegation includes a Tibetan named Sithar who now works at the United Front Department of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. In one of his earlier post, Mr. Sithar worked at the Chinese Consulate in Zurich. He was also seen at the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, as a delegate of one Chinese GONGO.
Tibet Bureau, Geneva