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China and Tibet in focus at Human Rights Council despite changing environment

March 21, 2017

As the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is coming to an end on March 24, the human rights situation in Tibet and China has once more been in the focus of civil society organizations and concerned governments. While facing a changing environment due to potential policy shifts of the U.S. government with regard to the Human Rights Council, advocates for human rights in the People’s Republic of China and also Tibet, among them the International Campaign for Tibet, sent a joint letter to Permanent Missions to the UN in Geneva, asking governments to sustain the call for accountability of the Chinese Government by making a joint statement, and by coordinating national statements, at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

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Tibet once again in the spotlight at United Nations in Geneva – High Commissioner and governments concerned while Tibetans and ICT call for rights at Human Rights Council session

September 20, 2016

Washington/Geneva – The 33rd session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva once again saw Tibet and China in the spotlight, as High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid prominently expressed concern with regard to human rights violations in the People’s Republic of China and urged the Chinese government to cooperate with United Nations institutions. In his opening statement, Zeid said with regard to China: “I am deeply concerned, however, over reports of continued harassment of human rights lawyers, human rights defenders and their family members, as well as allegations of discrimination, torture and ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and deaths in custody of members of ethnic and religious communities.” During the general debate, Slovakia on behalf of the European Union and Germany prominently raised the situation in Tibet while others such as the United States, the Czech Republic, France, Canada, Ireland and the UK expressed concern about the human rights situation in China in general.

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ICT Highlights China’s Repressive Policies and “Security Architecture” in Tibet at UN Human Rights Council Session

June 21, 2016

At the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) once again highlighted issues pertaining to China’s repressive policies in Tibet. At a side event organized by the Society for Threatened Peoples, Kai Müller, Executive Director of ICT Germany who heads ICT’s UN advocacy Team, said that the Chinese “security architecture” in Tibet creates neither peace nor stability. In his speech, delivered on June 20, Müller detailed policies, laws and regulations as well as local and regional measures that amount to a climate of repression and fear in Tibet, and which are in contravention of international human rights law. The event was moderated by Ngodup Dorjee, Representative of the Dalai Lama in Geneva. Tienchi Martin-Liao, President of the independent Chinese PEN, was among the panelists.

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Unprecedented diplomatic action in Geneva on China’s human rights record

March 16, 2016

The international community has sent a strong message to China with unprecedented diplomatic action in recent weeks including the first collective statement at the U.N. Human Rights Council, a rare joint statement drawing attention to human rights abuses and a high-profile appearance by the Dalai Lama at an event with human rights defenders in Geneva last week moderated by the Deputy U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Diplomats were among a packed audience listening to the Dalai Lama speaking about human rights and civil society on Friday (March 11). China’s mission in Geneva had urged them to stay away from the event billed as a side event to the ongoing U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, and co-sponsored by the United States and Canada. The discussion, built around a gathering of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, can be viewed here.

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U.N. Committee against Torture calls China to account for ‘deeply entrenched’ torture and ill-treatment

December 9, 2015

Washington/Geneva, December 9, 2015. The U.N. Committee against Torture has condemned China’s record of maltreatment in an unusually long and detailed report that raises serious questions about the way the Chinese Party state operates.

The Committee published its Concluding Observations today following an examination of China’s record on torture in November at the U.N. in Geneva.[1]

Kai Mueller, Executive Director of ICT Germany, said: “The 16 page document signals the Committee’s profound concern about abuses in the PRC, and its commitment to hold the Chinese authorities to account for the suffering endured by those who bore witness to the Committee. It also reflects alarm at China’s attempts to subvert criticism of its record on human rights and to distort the reality – for instance when PRC officials told the Committee that ‘tiger chairs’ used for immobilization and torture are made ‘comfortable’ for the victims, using soft cushions.”

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UN-Committee against Torture underlines urgency of situation in Tibet

November 18, 2015

ICT: “Torture widespread and endemic in Tibet – China must end torture in Tibet” – Replies by China not acceptable

Geneva, November 18, 2015. The United Nations’ Committee against Torture concluded its sessions on China today, with the Chinese delegation having to reply to numerous questions raised by Committee members this week in Geneva. Committee members had reiterated their concerns with regard to the lack of judicial independence and the harassment of lawyers in China, and they criticized the lack of response from the Chinese government with regard to investigations into deaths in custody and allegations of torture, also with regard to Tibet. “The Chinese delegation largely denied the existence of issues related to torture, and even appeared to apply different standards with regards to what constitutes torture according to international law. This is inacceptable”, said Head of the UN Advocacy Team at the International Campaign for Tibet, Kai Müller today in Geneva.

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ICT’s Submission to UN Committee Against Torture on China’s action in Tibet

November 16, 2015

The UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) is scheduled to review China’s case on November 17 and 18, during its 56th session in Geneva. The Committee Against Torture is the body of 10 independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its State parties.
The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1984 and entered into force in 1987. The Convention was established “to make more effective the struggle against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment throughout the world.”
Posted below is the submission that the International Campaign for Tibet has made to the United Nations regarding China’s treatment of Tibetans.

This submission can be found on the UN website.

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Anniversary of UN women’s conference is opportunity to challenge Xi on lack of freedoms

September 26, 2015

China’s leader Xi Jinping’s attendance at the World Conference on Women in the UN [tomorrow], on the 20th anniversary of the same conference held in Beijing in 1995, should focus attention on the lack of freedoms of Tibetan, Uyghur and Chinese women in the PRC today.

To mark the anniversary, Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, has launched the #FreeThe20 campaign calling for the release of 20 female political prisoners from 13 countries including Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Yu. The International Campaign for Tibet supports this campaign, which aims to encourage global action around the Beijing Declaration’s call for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “Many will remember the vivid images from Beijing 20 years ago of nine Tibetan exile women standing silently, gagged with silk scarves to symbolize China’s silencing of Tibetan women’s voices. This initiative – by the first Tibetan exiles to protest Chinese rule over Tibet on Chinese soil – highlighted the courage and spirit of Tibetan women, who have long been on the frontline of resistance, solidarity in their community, and preservation of Tibetan identity and culture.”

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US Envoy says “dialogue in good faith” will pave the right path for Tibet and China

June 19, 2015

Ambassador Keith M. Harper, Representative of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council, has said that he believes that sitting down to dialogue in good faith will be the starting point for finding the right path between Tibet and China.

In his remarks at the at Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights’s side event, “Lockdown in Tibet“, on June 15, 2015 in Geneva, to coincide with the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Ambassador said, “As an indigenous person – a citizen not only of the United States but my tribal nation – the Cherokee Nation – I have a particular affinity for the issues faced by Tibetans. In the history of our people, we faced times in the country I now represent, when our right to forge our own destiny and practice our own religion and speak our mines were too often denied or restricted. So the stories which emerge out of Tibet have always rung with a certain familiarity. It is a familiarity borne from the many stories I heard from my own relatives about our own history.”

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Golog Jigme statement at Lockdown in Tibet panel at UN in Geneva

June 18, 2015

Following is the text of the statement made by Golog Jigme, former Tibetan political prisoner, at Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights’s side event, “Lockdown in Tibet“, on June 15, 2015 in Geneva, to coincide with the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The panelists include the U.S. Ambassador to the Human Rights Council, Mr. Keith Harper; the Undersecretary of State and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Dr. Sarah Sewall; the President of the International Campaign for Tibet, Mr. Matteo Mecacci; Ven. Golog Jigmy, a former Tibetan political prisoner recently arrived in Europe; and Mr. Juan Pablo Cardenal, journalist and writer as well as former China correspondent for Spanish newspapers.

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Elena Gaita

UN Urged to Ensure Freedom of Expression and Opinion in Tibet

June 18, 2015

In a statement responding to the report by Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Ms. Elena Gaita made a statement on behalf of Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 18, 2015 urging the UN to ensure freedom of expression and opinion in Tibet.

Ms. Gaita, who is the Policy and Advocacy Officer at the International Campaign for Tibet office in Brussels, said in her statement, “In the current political climate in Tibetan areas of the PRC, almost any expression of cultural or national identity can be characterized as ‘splittist’ and ‘criminal’ with harsh punishments imposed. Control and surveillance, online and offline, are part of daily life.”

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US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Sarah Sewall Urges China to respect international obligations on Tibet

June 15, 2015

US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Sarah Sewall, in her remarks at Lockdown in Tibet panel at UN in Geneva, on June 15, 2015 said, “Tibetans have an inalienable right to be stewards of their unique cultural, religious and linguistic heritage’ and urged members of the UN Human Rights Council “to join the United States in encouraging the Chinese government to live up to its international obligations to respect Tibetans’ distinct culture, identity, and fundamental human rights, as well as respect international protocols on diplomatic relations and reciprocal access among states.”

The panelists include the U.S. Ambassador to the Human Rights Council, Mr. Keith Harper; the Undersecretary of State and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Dr. Sarah Sewall; the President of the International Campaign for Tibet, Mr. Matteo Mecacci; Ven. Golog Jigmy, a former Tibetan political prisoner recently arrived in Europe; and Mr. Juan Pablo Cardenal, journalist and writer as well as former China correspondent for Spanish newspapers.

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ICT President Matteo Mecacci’s statement at Lockdown in Tibet panel at UN in Geneva

June 15, 2015

Following is the text of the statement made by ICT President Matteo Mecacci at Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights’s side event, “Lockdown in Tibet“, on June 15, 2015 in Geneva, to coincide with the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The event focused attention on several fundamental human rights issues facing Tibet today: namely, restrictions on freedom of expression and movement, which in turn have a significant impact on the ability of Tibetans to exercise other fundamental human rights. The lack of access to Tibet for UN mandate-holders, foreign diplomats and journalists, among others, also severely impacts the protection and promotion of human rights in Tibet as well as the free flow of information out of Tibet.

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China responds to statement by Matteo Mecacci at the UN denying violations of religious freedom in Tibet

March 12, 2015

The Chinese government gave a direct response in Geneva last night defending its policies on religion in Tibet, in response to a statement delivered by ICT President Matteo Mecacci on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights at the UN Human Rights Council.

A Chinese government representative defended the official Party line in response to the statement, saying that “All types of religious activity proceed normally in Tibet” and that religious freedom was fully respected.

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Tibetan Buddhists demonized by PRC Government as posing threat to China’s survival: Matteo Mecacci tells UN Human Rights Council

March 11, 2015

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, delivered a statement on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights at the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the 28th United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 11. He said “The Chinese government adopted a more pervasive approach to “patriotic education”, including measures to micromanage Tibetan Buddhist monastic affairs; “legal education” programs for monks and nuns; and a ban on images of the Dalai Lama.”

While in Geneva, Matteo Mecacci asked for support among the diplomatic community on Tibet related issues. He was accompanied by the ICT Head for UN Advocacy, Kai Mueller.

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ICT asks UN Human Rights Council to look into 41 individuals feared disappeared in Tibet

September 15, 2014

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) asked the UN Human Rights Council to look into 41 cases of enforced disappearances in Tibet that ICT documented between April 2010 to February 2014.

Presenting a joint statement with Helsinki Foundation at the interactive dialogue with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGIED), Elena Gaita said, “during the period of April 2010 to February 2014 the International Campaign for Tibet in its report ‘Acts of Significant Evil: The Criminalization of Self-Immolation’ recorded at least 41 cases of individuals feared disappeared because of these new measures. We endorse the Working Group’s call to State’s to take specific measures to prevent threats, intimidation and reprisals against victims of enforced disappearances including family members, witnesses and human rights defenders.”

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ICT highlights Enforced Disappearances in Tibet at the 27th Human Rights Council Session

September 8, 2014

As the latest session of the U.N. Human Rights Council opens today in Geneva, the International Campaign for Tibet has urged the new High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Al-Hussein, to seek to visit China and Tibet during his tenure. In a letter to the new High Commissioner, ICT also pressed for an end to the increasingly widespread use of extra-judicial detentions and torture as a means of silencing Tibetans.

ICT in its recent report “Significant Acts of Evil – The Criminalization of Tibetan Self-Immolations” documented the impact of rulings announced in December 2012, a month after Xi Jinping became head of the Chinese Communist Party. The new measures, adopted in response to self-immolations across Tibet (now totalling 131), have resulted in a spike in political imprisonments, including one instance of the death penalty, and numerous cases of Tibetans being ‘disappeared’, with family and friends unaware of whether or not they are still alive, often for weeks or months.

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ICT highlights extra-legal detentions in Tibet on U.N. International Day of Enforced Disappearances

August 29, 2014

On the occasion of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on August 30, 2014, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) calls for an end to a wave of enforced and extra-legal disappearances across Tibet, in particular following intensified repression after the self-immolations began in 2009.

There has been a new spike in enforced disappearances since the self-immolations in Tibet in 2009. The authorities’ draconian response to the more than 130 self-immolations across Tibet has included reprisals against those allegedly associated with self-immolators, including friends, families, witnesses to the act, and even entire communities.

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