Tag Archives | United Nations

UN Human Rights Council informed that China’s revised regulations on religion are a further threat to survival of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet

March 2, 2018

In a statement delivered on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights at the ongoing 37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 2, 2018, ICT’s Kai Mueller drew the Council’s attention to China’s revised regulations on religion, in effect since February 1, 2018, are a further threat to the continued survival of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet.

Speaking under Agenda Item 3 “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development”, he said that in November 2016, six UN special mandate holders expressed their “grave concern” over the “serious repression of the Buddhist Tibetans’ cultural and religious practices and learning” in the Buddhist institutes of Larung Gar and Yachen Gar.

He said that the Council should ask China to “refrain from intervening with religious activities that are protected by principles of freedom of religion or belief.”

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International NGOs urge Governments and UN to Act on China’s Human Rights Abuses, including in Tibet

February 26, 2018

A group of international NGOs, including the International Campaign for Tibet, has sent a private letter to a select UN member states about raising China’s human rights abuses at the UN Human Rights Council. The letter’s authors say, “The Human Rights Council should take further steps to show China that undermining key legal protections for freedoms of expression and association and the rights to a fair trial, not to mention disappearing or arbitrarily detaining dissenting voices, is unacceptable behaviour – especially for a would-be “global leader” “.

The letter highlighted five cases of human rights defenders, including that of Tibetan education advocate Tashi Wangchuk, which “show that the ferocious crackdown on human rights defenders, including lawyers, that has intensified since President Xi Jinping assumed power continues unabated’.

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ICT Welcomes UN experts call for immediate release of Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk

February 21, 2018

Six UN human rights experts have called for the immediate release of Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk. In a statement released today, the experts “expressed serious concern over the ruling by a Chinese court to uphold charges of ‘incitement to separatism’ brought against a human rights activist who appeared in a documentary calling for linguistic and cultural rights in Tibet.” The experts from various fields of human rights expertise said “all of the charges levelled against Tashi Wangchuk (…) should be dropped”. In unusual strong language, the experts “condemn the continued detention of Mr. Wangchuk and the criminalization of his freedom of expression as well as his right to stand and speak up for what he perceives as human rights violations in his region and country”.

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European Parliament calls for the release of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and regrets that failure of the EU to deliver an Item 4 Statement at the UN’s Human Rights Council

July 7, 2017

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on July 6, 2017 calling on the Chinese government to immediately release the ailing Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia from house arrest and to seek medical treatment “wherever they wish”.

The resolution called “on the Chinese Government to release, immediately and unconditionally, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia from house arrest and allow him to obtain medical treatment wherever they wish.” It also urged “the Chinese authorities to allow Lui Xiaobo unrestricted access to family, friends, and legal counsel”.

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Mélanie Blondelle

UN Human Rights Council urged to call on China to grant independent and impartial access to Tibet

June 15, 2017

In a statement delivered at the 35th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today, ICT’s Mélanie Blondelle, speaking on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR), expressed distress at the continuing wave of self-immolations in Tibet. She urged “the Council to call on China to grant independent and impartial monitors unfettered access to Tibet, as agreed to by China following its 2013 Universal Periodic Review”.

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UHRP letter

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues urged to respect participant’s freedom of expression

May 8, 2017

A group of NGOs, including the International Campaign for Tibet has demanded that the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) demanded that “the rights of indigenous peoples’ representatives to express themselves in this arena be unconditionally respected.”

In a statement on the forced expulsion on April 26, 2016 of Uyghur human rights activist Dolkun Isa from the UN premises where the forum was being held, the NGOS called on the UNPFII Secretariat to provide a full account of the causes of this incident.

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UN human rights expert on poverty criticizes policies on “ethnic minorities”, and government obstruction to meaningful access to civil society in China

May 4, 2017

A United Nations human rights expert on poverty has criticized the Chinese government for exposing “ethnic minorities in China” to serious human rights challenges. In a newly published report on his country visit to China in August 2016, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, wrote that while the plights of Tibetans and Uighurs were “deeply problematic,” “most ethnic minorities in China are exposed to serious human rights challenges, including significantly higher poverty rates, ethnic discrimination and forced relocation”.

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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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Dalai Lama

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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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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Ambassador Keith M. Harper

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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Sarah Sewall

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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Lockdown in Tibet panel at UN

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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