The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, began his visit to the People’s Republic of China today, 21 November 2005.
The visit, which runs until 2 December 2005, includes stops in Beijing, Urumqi, Yining and Lhasa, where Nowak will meet with Government officials and representatives of civil society, among others, and visit detention facilities.
The International Campaign for Tibet has been campaigning for an end to the use of torture in Tibet and has urged Dr Nowak during his visit to raise specific cases where there exists the fear or evidence of the use of torture on Tibetan prisoners, including Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Bangri Rinpoche, both of whom are currently serving life sentences for alleged political crimes.
ICT has also made specific recommendations to the Special Rapporteur ahead of his visit, in order to tackle the root causes of torture in Tibet, including:
- Immediate access for prisoners to lawyers, family, friends and medical personnel
- Training for police and prison personnel in Tibet
- Institutionalization of a system to investigate promptly, thoroughly, effectively and impartially reports of torture, and protection of victims testifying to such torture
- Procedure for prosecuting those who commit acts of torture
- Reporting of investigations of torture and prosecutions for offenses involving the use of torture by Province rather than as a national aggregate
The Special Rapporteur will submit a comprehensive written report on the visit to the Commission on Human Rights at its sixty-second session in 2006.