UN Member States Raise Concern over Repression by China in Tibet

Geneva: 29th September 2022: UN Member States raised concern over China’s systematic repression in Tibet in the ongoing 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. States have highlighted “draconian controls” over freedom of expression and other human rights violations by China, including in Tibet.

States including the United States, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Lithuania and the European Union, on behalf of 27 member states, expressed concern over the situation in Tibet, while bringing the spotlight on human rights violations by China.

The delegate of the United States expressed concern about “serious human rights abuses” committed by China. With regard to Tibet, the United States remains concerned over “severe repression against Tibetans and their distinct religious, linguistic and cultural identity” in Tibet.

Delivering the statement of the European Union, on behalf of the 27 member states, the Czech Republic said the “latest documentations confirm the seriousness of the human rights situation in China”, including in Tibet. The EU urged China to “abide by its obligations under national and international law to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and fundamental freedoms for all”, including in Tibet.

Aligning with the EU statement, Denmark is “deeply concerned” by human rights violations by China, including in Tibet. Germany and Lithuania echoed the same concern over the “disturbing” situation in China, including in Tibet.

Furthermore, Sweden remained “deeply” concerned over the human rights situation in China, including in Tibet. Sweden urged China to “respect international law including human rights, especially the right to freedom of expression and the rights of persons belonging to minorities.”

Recalling the report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Form of Slavery Mr Tomoya Obokata, Switzerland expressed concern over arrangements of forced labour by China, including in Tibet. Switzerland said the findings from the report of the Special Rapporteur and that of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights report on Xinjiang indicated that “some of the human rights violations” by China “could constitute crimes against humanity”.

Delegates from Japan, Iceland, Finland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom, along with others continued to remain concerned over human rights violations by China.

China’s Mismanagement of Pandemic in Tibet Raised at 51st UNHRC Session

UN Member states and representatives of international human rights organisations have raised concerns over the deteriorating situation in Tibet in the ongoing 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Speaking on behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples, UN Advocacy Officer of the Tibet Bureau, Kalden Tsomo, and raised China’s mishandling of the pandemic situation in Tibet. She said the “world is gradually recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic”, however, Tibetans in Tibet are undergoing a “Hell on Earth” situation. “Under the guise of Zero-Covid measures, non-infected Tibetans are also forced to stay in quarantine centres (an empty house without beds) with infected patients in absence of any access to basic health amenities”, she continued.

Referring to the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery’s report on forced labor, she highlighted the Special Rapporteur’s finding of arrangements of forced labor in Tibetan areas similar to those in Uyghur areas. “Tibetan farmers, herders and other rural workers are subjected to extensive labor transfer programmes, often underpaid with no space to express grievances”, she said.

She urged the council to call upon China to give timely medical facilities for COVID infected Tibetans; and the council to heed the June 2020 call by over 50 UN independent experts to convene a special session on China.

A Former Political Prisoner from Tibet Testifies on Deplorable Situation under Chinese Rule

Former Tibetan political prisoner Golog Jigme testified on deplorable situations under China at a side event alongside the ongoing 51st UN HRC session, on Friday, 30 September 2022.

The side event titled “Human Rights in China: Tibetan and Uyghur Survivors Tell Their Stories” organised by Society for Threatened Peoples in collaboration with the Tibet Bureau in Geneva and the World Uyghur Congress featured Tibetan former political prisoner Golog Jigme Gyatso and Uyghur camp survivors Gulbakhar Jalilova and Gulbahar Haitiwaji.

Testifying in the UN Human Rights Council premises Room XXV, Golog Jigme categorically explained various forms of torture that he was inflected by 16 different Chinese prison staffs since the day he was held in the Chinese detention on 23 March 2008. The Chinese authorities have arrested him thrice, and had undergone “unthinkable” physical and psychological torment, said Golog Jigme in the event.

Golog Jigme also gave an overview of the current situation in Tibet, in particular, China’s hard line assimilatory policies that systematically put the survival of distinct Tibetan culture and identity at stake. He said education policy and CCP’s systemic attack on Tibetan scholars, cultural and monastic institutes, are cause of serious concerns which call for a meaningful attention and intervention by the UN human rights council and its member states.

Referring to current deplorable situation due to China’s failure and mismanagement of COVID situation in Tibet, Golog Jigme said everyone across the world had undergone “unpredictable” and “difficult” situation caused by pandemic, however, it is “more difficult” “painful” and “unacceptable” when pandemic is used to further suppress Tibetans and misused to gain political control over people. In addition to stringent restrictions on freedom of expression and movement, absence of access to basic medical facilities, non-infected Tibetans are forcibly mandated to stay in an isolation center along with infected patients, said Golog Jigme. The so-called quarantine centers, falling short of food and basic medical services, are nothing more than “tool to further distress” Tibetans.

He urged the UN Human Rights Council and UN independent experts to visit Tibet “without any pre-conditions”. A visit to Tibet is the need of the time because the UN sees Tibet that China wants to show for so long now. In order to assess the ground reality, a visit to Tibet is “indispensable”, added Golog Jigme. He urged the council and UN member states to uphold the Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights in real concerted actions, not just only in words.

The camp’s survivors of Uyghur have shared personal accounts of Chinese atrocities and urged the member states to take the responsibility to bring China accountable for “crimes against humanity”.

-Report filed by Tibet Bureau Geneva

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