International NGOs, including the Human Rights Watch today spoke before the 15th session of the UN Human Rights Council, demanding China to “release accurate information about those killed and injured by security forces and hold accountable, in a manner consistent with international human rights law, those responsible for using excessive use of force against unarmed protesters” following the 2008 Tibetan Uprising.
Raising their concern over China’s crackdown on peaceful protests against mining operations in Eastern Tibet, five NGOs from France, USA, Germany and India, in a joint statement, similarly called upon the Chinese authorities “to conduct an effective, independent and transparent investigation into the extrajudicial killings of Tibetans in Pelyul so that those responsible for these unlawful acts are made accountable and the affected Tibetan families fully compensated.”
Some 50 NGOs and 29 countries inscribed to speak to the UN highest human rights body on the agenda item on “human rights situations that require the Council’s attention.” Earlier when the debate began on 17 September, Belgium on behalf of EU countries, Croatia, Iceland, FYR of Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovinia and Montenegro stated that they remain “preoccupied” with the situation of “ethnic and religious minorities” in China. The EU also urged China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Politial Rights which Beijing signed in 1998.
Moment after the Belgian Ambassador’s statement, the United States of America told the Council that it had “growing concerns about recent setbacks in the development of the rule of law, including the harassment and disbarment of public interest lawyers, restrictions on NGOs and the Internet, long sentences for people involved in peaceful political activity, restrictions on religious freedom,and the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities.”
“We are encouraged that both Governments and NGOs continue to pay attention to the grave human rights situation in Tibet through these interventions at the Council,” said Ms. Tsering Jampa, Executivie Director, ICT-Europe in the Netherlands.
Ms. Juliette De Rivero, Human Rights Watch Director in Geneva, told the Council that HRW’s Tibet report of July 2010, showed that the Chinese authorities “have yet to account for hundreds of detainees arrested in the wake of the urest, and that the highly politicized judicial system continues to preclude any possibility of protesters being judged fairly.”
“More than two years after the protests, disappearances, wrongful convictions and imprisonment, persecution of families, and the targeting of Tibetans suspected of sympathizing with the protest movement continue unabated,” Ms. De Rivero added.
Mr. Gianfranco Fattorini, UN Representative of French NGO, Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP) delivering the statement on behalf of five NGOs informed the Council that Tibetans in Pelyul “were protesting against the gold mining operations by Chinese-owned Kartin Company which had led to an overcrowded population, severely degraded the fertility of the farmland, and adversely affected the local grassland habitat.” Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network, International Educational Development, France-Libertes and Society for Threatened Peoples were the other NGOs who co-sponsored the MRAP statement.
Last week, in an Opening Statement to the Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the curtailment of civil society’s scope of action in a number of countries, including China was “disturbing.”
Human Rights Watch statement also made clear of its concerns that despite repeated calls over the past two years the Chinese government has not allowed the High Commissioner or Special Rapporteurs to visit Tibet.