April 7, 2008

Tibet: UNHRC Remains Deaf to Special Session Appeal

Sample ImageCalls from NGOs urging for a UNHRC special session on Tibet have fallen on deaf ears – a risk to the credibility of the Council’s mandate.

Below is an article published by FORUM-ASIA:

FORUM-ASIA deplores the failure of the UN Human Rights Council to address the gross human rights violations occurring in Tibetan regions of China.

Despite repeated appeals by more than 70 human rights NGOs from Asia, the Council, which closes its 7th Session today, took no action on the call for a special session to deal with massive human rights violations taking place in response to recent uprisings in the "Tibet Autonomous Region" and other Tibetan areas in China. The Human Rights Council has sat idle and neglected to address the issue with any meaningful or effective action.

FORUM-ASIA does, however, welcome the concern expressed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and certain member States of the Council in urging the Government of China to allow demonstrators to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, to refrain from excessive use of force, and to ensure those arrested are not ill-treated and are accorded due process in line with international standards. We note with much disappointment that all Asian governments remained silent on Tibet during the 7th session of the HRC.

The people's uprising in Tibet is the second public manifestation of people's aspirations for dignity and justice in Asia since the establishment of the HRC, following the "Saffron Revolution" that took place in Burma in August/September 2007.

Despite taking strong action on the violent crackdown in Burma by convening a special session and calling for special procedures to be allowed into the region, the Council would not grant Tibetans the same treatment.

Not only is this an appalling exercise in double standards and selectivity, but it runs counter to the Council's mandate "to contribute, through dialogue and cooperation, towards the prevention of human rights violations and respond promptly to human rights emergencies".

Once again, we urge the Council to address this urgent matter by convening a special session and requesting China to admit relevant special procedures into the region. We also urge the Government of China to demonstrate its accountability by allowing international fact-finding missions by credible organisations such as the OHCHR and UN special procedures, lifting restrictions on independent media, and permitting the objective investigation of all alleged human rights violations in Tibetan China.