Sep 18, 2008

Tibet: Joint NGO Statement at Human Rights Council

Active ImageA statement to the UN Human Rights Council outlines the ongoing human rights crisis in Tibet.
Human Rights Council
Ninth Session
Item 4


Joint Statement delivered by Tenzin S. KAYTA on behalf of Society for Threatened Peoples, FORUM ASIA (Asia Forum for Human Rights and Democracy), Asian Indigenous & Tribal Peoples Network and Movement against Racism and for Friendship amongst People (MRAP)

Mr. President,

At the Seventh session of the Council, we raised concern about the frequent reports of the deportation of Tibetan refugees by the Government of Nepal.  Today we urge the Council to take note of the announcement last week that Tibetans living in the country without legal documents would face deportation from Nepal. This is an alarming and yet ironic development as the Nepal stopped issuing registration certificates to Tibetans by 1990s.

Mr. President, on the other side of the Himalayas, the human rights crisis confronted by the Tibetan people demands the immediate attention as we urge the Council to take serious note of this deteriorating situation due to the following reasons:

.    Despite the April reports that China will receive the High Commissioner for Human Rights at a later date, nothing seems to have materialized so far.

.    According to one report more than 200 Tibetans died as a direct result of China's "people's war" launched to suppress the Tibetan Uprising while over a thousand have been injured.

.    An analysis of official Chinese figures reveals that over 4,400 Tibetans have been detained or allegedly surrendered in connection with protests which began on 10 March 2008.   But these figures do not include every Tibetan area where protests and detentions have occurred. Over 3,000 reports on the continued use of torture on Tibetan detainees emerged, including cases of Tibetans who have died while in detention due to torture. In one instance, a 38-year-old Tibetan woman named Nechung, succumbed to torture in late-March after nine days detention following her participation in Tibetan protests.

.    As to the legal rights of the Tibetans, last month, the Committee Against Torture raised a question to the Chinese authorities which stated: "As 30 persons were found guilty and sentenced less than six weeks after the events, please clarify the basis of the sentences, including how many cases involved confessions from the defendants. What opportunity to appeal the verdicts is provided to the defendants?
Is there an independent review or oversight board assigned to these cases, and if so, has it examined any of them?"

.    The International Campaign for Tibet has reported that "since the first protests . monasteries have been encircled by armed soldiers , while thousands of Tibetans - farmers, nomads, monks, nuns, students, shopkeepers - have 'disappeared.'"

.    In June 2008, sweeping new measures introduced in Karze to purge monasteries of monks and restrict religious practice which reveal a systematic new attack on Tibetan Buddhism that is reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution.

.    Finally, the complete lack of political will by China to acknowledge the existence of a human rights problem in Tibet means that the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people receive no fair hearing.

Mr. President, after the July Sino-Tibetan Talks, the Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lodi Gyari said in a statement: "In the course of our discussions we were compelled to candidly convey to our counterparts that in the absence of serious and sincere commitment on their part the continuation of the present dialogue process would serve no purpose."

In conclusion, Mr. President, we urge the Council to encourage the Chinese authorities to immediately receive the High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant Special Procedure mandate-holders to visit Tibetan areas of present-day People's Republic of China.

I thank you, Mr. President.

16 September, 2008