Government statements on China and Tibet at 22nd Human Rights Council Session

UN Human RightsThe 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, underscored the importance of multilateral engagement on Tibet. At the session that concluded on March 25, twelve countries and the European Union (EU) called on China to ensure the human rights of the Tibetan people. The United States, Germany and the Czech Republic specifically highlighted the issue of criminalizing and sentencing families and associates of Tibetans who have self immolated, and said such a policy has only further exacerbated tensions. The EU called on China to re-engage in constructive dialogue with the Tibetan people and allow free access to the Tibetan Autonomous Area. Below are excerpts from the Government Statements on Tibet.


“The EU welcomes renewed debate in China concerning the Re-Education through Labour system and calls upon China to take genuine steps to abolish it and to ensure the right to fair trial for all. The EU further calls upon the Chinese authorities to ensure that all human rights of all minorities – especially the Tibetan and Uyghur peoples – are respected. The EU is profoundly saddened by the numerous self-immolations in Tibetan-inhabitated areas. The EU encourages China to re-engage in construction dialogue with the Tibetan people and to allow free access to the Tibetan autonomous area. The EU also urges China to take steps to implement the rights to freedom of expression – including on the Internet – and freedom of assembly, and to release the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and other prisoners of conscience. The EU deplores the widespread use of the death penalty and calls on the Chinese authorities to take immediate steps to reduce its application whilst moving towards a moratorium. The EU encourages China to co-operate fully with the UN Special Procedures, to facilitate a visit in the near future by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and to continue its efforts to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Delivered on 12 March, 2013 by Irish Ambassador Gerard Corr on behalf of the European Union. The following countries aligned themselves with the statement: Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Albania and Liechtenstein.


“Sweden also reiterates its concern about the human rights situation in China, including the widespread use of the death penalty, setbacks in the areas of rule of law and freedom of expression and harassment of human rights defenders. Sweden calls on China to ensure that the rights of persons belonging to minorities, including in Tibet and Xinjiang, are fully respected.”


“Germany continues to be worried about human rights violations in China. Recent reports about detentions and harsh sentences against Tibetans charging them with incitement to self-immolations raise strong concerns. Germany calls on the Chinese authorities to respect fundamental rights and the rule of law. Germany urges China to address the deep-rooted causes of the on-going self-immolations in a peaceful manner, respecting cultural and religious rights of Tibetans. In this respect we also encourage China to facilitate a visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the near future.”


“We would like to address the overall deterioration of the human rights situation in China as well as the lack of efforts of the Chinese authorities to debate these issues and change the situation. We remain deeply concerned by the continuing self-immolations in Tibet and detention and prosecution of those who have allegedly been associated with the self-immolation protests of other Tibetans, like Mr. Lorang Tsering or Mr. Lorang Konchok. Furthermore, we are disconcerted by the situation of human rights defenders in China, who regularly face police harassements, house arrests, short-term detentions and charges on the state security or public order grounds.”


“Austria also calls upon the Chinese authorities to ensure that the rights of all minorities, including Tibetans and Uyghurs are respected in full accordance with the rights and guarantees enshrined in the Chinese Constitution. In this context, we are particularly alarmed by the rising number of self-immolations among Tibetans.”

Note: Transcribed from video recording.


“China silences dissent through arrersts, convictions, forced disappearances, extralegal detentions and other forms of intimidation; has tightened controls on the Internet; persecutes human rights lawyers; intimidates activists’ families; impedes civil society; harasses domestic and international journalists; and limits religious freedom. A large number of activists are serving long prison sentences, including Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo. His wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest since 2011. Government policies undermine the linguistic, religious and cultural tradition of its ethnic and religious minorities, heightening tensions in Xinjiang and Tibetan areas in China. The recent decision to sue criminal proceedings against families and associates of Tibetans who have self-immolated has further increased tensions.”

Note: Transcribed from video recording.


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