At the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today, the International Campaign for Tibet reaffirmed its call for an independent mechanism for Xinjiang (which Uyghurs know as East Turkestan), Tibet, Hong Kong and China.

Speaking on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Kai Mueller highlighted the worrying pattern of arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment and torture in Tibet and called on the Human Rights Council to include Tibet as a subject of investigation and monitoring in the event of a possible establishment of an independent mechanism on China.

Commenting on the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention report discussed today, Mueller said: “We share the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s concerns about coerced confessions, ill-treatment and torture in detention. In Tibet, this is regrettably a common practice by the Chinese authorities, with complete impunity. This is also proven by the extensive testimony of the Tibetan businessman Dorjee Tashi, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

“Arbitrary detention remains one of the greatest threats to freedom of expression in Tibet. This is another reason why the UN Human Rights Council should urgently set up an independent mechanism on China that not only investigates alleged crimes by the CCP in East Turkestan, but also includes Tibet, Hong Kong and Chinese human rights defenders.”

In the statement, ICT continued to call for Dorjee Tashi’s immediate release and for an independent and impartial investigation into the credible reports of the torture and ill-treatment he has suffered. Likewise, Mueller pointed to the cases of the recently imprisoned Tibetan intellectuals Go Sherab Gyatso, Rinchen Tsultrim, Lobsang Lhundup, Thupten Lodoe, Rongwo Gendun Lhundup, Rongwo Gangkar and Nyima.

ICT believes these cases reflect a pattern of arbitrary arrests, with those affected often being held in unknown locations and kept incommunicado. The arrested Tibetans are generally denied access to legal counsel and a fair trial.

Statement

GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Human Rights Council
Fiftieth Regular Session
September 19, 2022
Item 3: ID With the Working Group on Arbitrary detention

Statement delivered by Kai Mueller on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Mr. President,

We thank the Working Group for its report, and share its concerns regarding the extraction of confessions and other incriminating information through ill-treatment and torture.

In Tibet, this is a common practice occurring with complete impunity, as illustrated by the testimony of Dorjee Tashi, a Tibetan businessman sentenced to life in prison. Tashi’s testimony documents the pre-trial torture and interrogation sessions, where interrogators assured him “even if we kill or handicap you, we are not liable under the law.”[1] We call for Dorjee Tashi’s immediate release and also urge the Working Group to call for an independent and impartial investigation into the credible reports of his torture and ill-treatment.

Arbitrary detention remains one of the greatest threats to the right to freedom of expression in Tibet, where it is commonly used to silence those who express dissent or any opinion that does not align with the Chinese Communist Party’s official propaganda.

In addition to the notable and recently detained Tibetan intellectuals such as Go Sherab Gyatso[2], Rinchen Tsultrim[3] and Lobsang Lhundup[4], we have received information on four more writers – Thupten Lodoe, Rongwo Gendun Lhundup, Rongwo Gangkar and Nyima – who were also either detained or sentenced since 2021 for expressing their opinions and thoughts on Tibetan national identity and culture.[5]

We urge the Working Group to raise these violations in its future opinions addressed to the Chinese government. We also call for the inclusion of Tibet into any mechanism at the Human Rights Council on China.

Thank you.

Footnotes:
[1] Testimony reveals pre-trial torture of Tibetan businessman-philanthropist, International Campaign for Tibet, 16 August 2021, https://savetibet.org/testimony-reveals-pre-trial-torture-of-tibetan-businessman-philanthropist/

[2] AL CHN 7/2021

[3] AL CHN 7/2021

[4] AL CHN 14/2021

[5] Tibetan intellectuals and writers detained in recent spate, International Campaign for Tibet, 30 June 2022, https://savetibet.org/tibetan-intellectuals-and-writers-detained-in-recent-spate/

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