October 3, 2005

Tibet: UN Child Rights Body Increases Pressure on China to Allow Independent Access to Panchen Lama

The 40th session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) this morning called upon the Chinese authorities to allow an independent body to verify the fate of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 16-year-old Panchen Lama of Tibet
The 40th session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) this morning called upon the Chinese authorities to allow an independent body to verify the fate of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 16-year-old Panchen Lama of Tibet. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his parents following their abduction on 17 May 1995.

Adopting its Concluding Observations on the second periodic report of the People's Republic of China this morning, the CRC said that it notes the information provided about Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, but remained concerned that it has not yet been possible to have this information confirmed by an independent expert. The CRC asked that the Chinese authorities, "allow an independent expert to visit and confirm the well-being of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima while respecting his right to privacy, and that of his parents."

The 40th session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) this morning called upon the Chinese authorities to allow an independent body to verify the fate of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 16-year-old Panchen Lama of Tibet. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his parents following their abduction on 17 May 1995.

Adopting its Concluding Observations on the second periodic report of the People's Republic of China this morning, the CRC said that it notes the information provided about Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, but remained concerned that it has not yet been possible to have this information confirmed by an independent expert. The CRC asked that the Chinese authorities, "allow an independent expert to visit and confirm the well-being of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima while respecting his right to privacy, and that of his parents."

"This case involves the abduction of a child and this independent and responsible human rights body of the United Nations has today delivered one of the strongest ever signals of concern to China that the case of Panchen Lama must be resolved. It is a crystal clear message to China that as a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, action is needed now," said Ms Tsering Jampa, Executive Director of International Campaign for Tibet - Europe.

The CRC's comments come less than a month after UN human rights chief Louise Arbour visited China and included the young Panchen Lama in a list to the Chinese authorities of 10 prisoners of concern to the UN.

"The UN has now raised the Panchen Lama's case at the highest level in China and the importance of this young boy to the international community cannot have escaped Beijing. It is now more crucial than ever that the UN ensures China’s implementation of its international obligations and obtains access to this child", said Ms Jampa.

The CRC adopted its Concluding Observations today after reviewing China’s Second Periodic Report on 19-20 September 2005 at Palais Wilson, the UN human rights headquarters in Geneva, in a meeting attended by Tibetans and members of Tibetan and Chinese human rights NGOs.

In addition to its comments on the Panchen Lama, the CRC also raised concerns about the restrictions placed on the freedom of religion in Tibet saying that children have had restrictions placed on their ability to study and practice their religion. The CRC asked the Chinese authorities to “repeal any ban instituted by local authorities on children of any age from participating in Tibetan religious festival or receiving religious education.”

The CRC Observations on China stated that China’s next report should be submitted on 31 March 2009. Source: ICT Europe

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