As the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) prepares to review China’s overall human rights record next month, several countries have put China on notice with regard to its human rights violations in Tibet. The 24th session runs from September 9-27 in Geneva.
In General Debate on September 17, the delegate from Germany urged “China to address the deep-rooted causes of the on-going self-immolations in a peaceful manner, respecting cultural and religious rights of Tibetans.” (Minute 23:22.)
The European Union said that China must remember the pledges it has made to the Council as a part of its bid for re-election. The EU expressed its concern “about on-going reports of human rights violations in China, particularly the use of force against peaceful protests, especially in Tibetan-inhabited areas and Xinjiang.” (Minute 03:23.)
The US representative said that China is limiting freedom of religion, especially in Tibet (minute 15:20). Further, the United Kingdom urged China to “ensure the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of freedom of assembly and demonstration are fully protected, including in ethnic minority areas.”
China’s rights record is coming under increased scrutiny at the UNHRC. On October 22, China will be subject to its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), wherein the Chinese government states what steps it has taken to fulfil its human rights obligations. (Note: China’s UPR submission is now available in English.) China’s record is also reviewed by member states and non-governmental organizations.
ICT, together with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has submitted a report to the Council for the UPR on China’s rights record in Tibet, focused on restrictions on Tibetan Buddhism.
Additionally, China is seeking election to return as a member of the Human Rights Council. This process raises the question over whether a country documented to commit some of the most widespread violations of international human rights laws in the world is suitable to serve on the UN body charged with overseeing nations’ compliance with international human rights laws.