Investigate shooting of unarmed Tibetans, ICT urges on eve of China’s rights review at UN

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) calls on governments to request China to investigate the recent shooting of unarmed Tibetans and reports of torture, and to release those held without charge, in the context of the upcoming United Nations review of China’s human rights record.

“This shooting of Tibetans must be on the agenda of the UN’s scrutiny of China’s adherence to international human rights standards,” said Todd Stein, Director of Government Relations at ICT. “China has employed indiscriminate use of force, torture, and denial of free speech. Governments at the UPR should ensure that the Chinese delegates are made to answer for these violations of basic human rights law.”

ICT and others have reported that at least 60 Tibetans were injured, some severely, when Chinese security forces opened fire on a group protesting the detention of a local Tibetan named Dorje Dragtsel, on October 1 in Driru, Nagchu, Tibet Autonomous Region. Dragtsel was among those detained following the community’s refusal to comply with directives from a ‘patriotic education’ work team to fly the flag of the People’s Republic of China on its National Day (October 1).

ICT has also reported that several civilians were seriously injured as a result of severe beatings from security forces, and that at least one person, Tsering Gyaltsen, was seriously injured after torture in detention after police apparently singled him out as a ‘ringleader’ of the peaceful expressions of dissent. He was further prevented from receiving medical treatment for several days. (ICT report, Troops open fire on Tibetans in escalating crisis in Nagchu – October 8, 2013)

On October 22, China will undergo its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. In this process, China will be ‘peer reviewed’ by other governments on whether it has met stated benchmarks China accepted in order to further human rights. ICT has offered a set of recommendations for Tibet issues for national delegations to raise at China’s UPR (ICT/FIDH report, China: authorities must end their crackdown on Tibetan Buddhism – September 30, 2013)

Based on the reports of shootings in Driru, ICT believes there are sufficient grounds that Chinese authorities have engaged in:

  • indiscriminate use of force against civilians;
  • torture of individuals in detention; and
  • denial of the right of free speech and peaceful assembly.

ICT calls on national governments to make representations on these developments to the Chinese government in advance of and during the UPR process, including to:

  • investigate the indiscriminate use of force against unarmed Tibetans, and prosecution of those responsible;
  • release of those held without charge, ensure due process for anyone who has been charged;
  • allow UN officials and special mandate holders to visit Tibetan areas and conduct an unimpeded investigation of the Driru shootings incident.
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