Europe, US, Canada raise Tibet at UN Human Rights Council; call on China to grant rights and access to outside observers
Geneva, June 28, 2012. -- Government delegations to the U.N. Human Rights Council spoke publicly about the worsening human rights situation in Tibet today as part of Item 4 on the Council’s agenda (20th session), "Human rights situations that require the Council's attention." The countries raising Tibet were: Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Sweden and the United States. Denmark's statement on behalf of the European Union was also supported by non-EU members Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Liechtenstein.
Governments expressed specific concerns about the current crisis in Tibet, including:
- Belgium: The severe repression of Tibetan demonstrations by Chinese authorities and the self-immolation by 42 Tibetans because Tibetans feel that their cultural and religious rights are not fully respected;
- Canada: Chinese government policies restricting religious practices;
- Denmark: The deterioration of the situation, especially in Tibetan areas of Sichuan province, and the news of mass arrests and detentions following self-immolations in Lhasa and elsewhere, as well as reports that the Tibet Autonomous Region has been closed to foreigners;
- France: Acts of despair, such as self-immolations by Tibetans;
- Sweden: Heavy-handed measures against Tibetans by Chinese authorities; and
- United States: Chinese government policies that undermine linguistic, religious and cultural traditions.
Governments called on the Chinese government to take action, including as follows:
- Denmark and Sweden: Ensure that the human rights of persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, notably in Tibet and Xinjiang, are fully respected, including their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion or belief, as well as the right to enjoy their own culture and use their own language; and
- Czech Republic: Allow unhindered access to all Tibetan areas for independent monitoring, including by diplomats and journalists.
Tsering Jampa, ICT Executive Director in Europe, said: “We have seen a significant and timely reaction to the crisis situation in Tibet by government delegations during the 20th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council. The concerns expressed must now be fully considered by the government of the People’s Republic of China, according to its obligations to various international human rights covenants, and acted upon without delay so that the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people are justly addressed. So has been the urgent business of the UN Human Rights Council and is now the urgent business of the Chinese government.”
Links to the video footage of these statements are available below:
Joint statement by Asian Indigenous & Tribal Peoples Network, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Society for Threatened Peoples and MRAP:
Human Rights Watch’s statement under Item 3 – General Debate with reference restrictions on freedom of association and assembly in Tibet:
China’s right of reply:
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