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UN committee should pressure China to end discrimination against Tibetans, International Campaign for Tibet says in new report

August 7, 2018

The United Nations committee that fights racism should press China to abolish laws and policies that discriminate against Tibetans, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said today ahead of the Chinese government’s presentation to the committee on Aug. 10.

In a report delivered to the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (CERD), ICT says that Tibetans “cannot practice their religion freely, nor can they protect their culture and language in a meaningful way. Instead, they suffer from repressive laws that deem any expression of their identity as extremist or even terrorist.”

ICT’s report highlights the official Chinese propaganda that has spread derogatory and racist narratives about Tibetans to ordinary Chinese, particularly since the time of widespread—and largely peaceful—protests in Tibet in 2008.

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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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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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lhamo, Mueller ,Isa

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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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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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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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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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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Can China have a development strategy that fully respects the nomadic people – UN committee asks

May 21, 2014

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, reviewing China’s compliance with a key international treaty, questioned China sharply on its treatment of Tibetans, nomads and other ethnic minority groups.

The questioning was part of the UN’s review of China’s rights obligations under the Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR), which concluded on May 8. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights comprises of 18 independent experts.

As a part of the review, non-governmental organizations can submit reports and make statements. The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) made a statement to the Committee highlighting the issues of relocating of Tibetan nomads, education and practice of religion. ICT pointed out that relocation is a threat to the nomads’ ancient way of life and Tibetan identity resulting in the violation of their rights. ICT’s full statement can be found here.

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China fails to shut down scrutiny of its violations as UN Council adopts China rights report

March 20, 2014

China was unsuccessful in blocking efforts by the International Campaign for Tibet and other non-governmental organizations to condemn the harassment meted out to human rights defenders both inside the UN Human Rights Council Geneva and in China. In dramatic exchanges and parliamentary procedural manoeuvres rarely seen in the Council, Member states and NGOs sought a minute of silence for Cao Shunli, a Chinese human rights defender who was prevented by the government from participating in China’s rights review, and then died after being denied medical treatment in detention.

As the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) delivered an oral statement at the council, critical of China’s report which its two member organisations ICT and Human Rights in China (HRiC) joined, the Chinese delegation interrupted the presenter by raising a point of order. The Chinese asked the President of the Council “to abolish the status of the speaker [FIDH] to speak” because the other two organisations did not have consultative status. The UN secretariat ruled against the Chinese, citing a long practice where NGOs accredited to ECOSOC could “mention other entitities.” FIDH was allowed to continue with the statement.

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