Governments confront China at UN Human Rights Council

ICT, Geneva, March 14, 2012: European governments and the United States raised strong concern about Tibet in their statements to the U.N. Human Rights Council yesterday (March 13) as part of the key Item 4 “HR situations that require the Council’s attention.” Chinese delegates at the multilateral forum impose substantial pressure on countries not to raise the situation in Tibet, and deny that there are any human rights abuses in the PRC.

Among the countries raising serious concerns about the current crisis in Tibet at the UN Human Rights Council (19th session, February 27-March 23) were the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Denmark’s statement, on behalf of the European Union, was supported by 34 countries, including non-EU members Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania and Liechtenstein.

In addition to voicing criticism and alarm about the violent suppression of Tibetan protests, governments called upon China to take the following actions:

  • Allow all Tibetans, including monks, to exercise their cultural and religious rights without hindrance (Denmark, on behalf of the EU);
  • Refrain from the use of force against peaceful protest (Denmark, on behalf of the EU);
  • Improve the human rights situation in Tibet as well as in other parts of China, as a means to ensuring peace and stability (Denmark, on behalf of the EU);
  • Allow for unhindered access to all areas for international monitoring (Czech Republic):
  • Re-assess policies that undermine Tibetan and Uighur linguistic, religious, and cultural traditions, creating grievances and fostering unrest (United States);
  • Safeguard the civil, political and cultural rights of all its citizens, in line with its international obligations (United Kingdom); and
  • Respect freedom of religion and belief for all, including Tibetans (France).

Tsering Jampa, ICT Executive Director in Europe, said: “The international community has sent a clear message to the Chinese government on Tibet at this critical global forum, and the Beijing authorities have heard this loud and clear. The human rights situation in Tibet has figured prominently in the debate at the UN, demonstrating the value of the Human Rights Council as a significant multilateral venue for confronting even the most egregious human rights violators.”

The strong response at the Council speaks to the gravity of the situation in Tibet where 28 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against Chinese government constraints on their fundamental rights and freedoms (ICT, Self-immolation fact sheet).

Links to the video footage of these statements are available below:

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