Oct 21, 2013

Universal Periodic Review: UNPO Calls for Scrutiny of China over Extrajudicial-killings and Enforced Disappearances in East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia and Tibet

Geneva/The Hague/Brussels - As the 17th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council will review the human rights situation in present-day People's Republic of China (PRC) tomorrow [Tuesday, 22 October], the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) urges the international community to ensure the accountability of China over extrajudicial-killings and enforced disappearances in East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia and Tibet.

Earlier this month, seven Uyghurs were shot dead in East Turkestan and in August, 34 Uyghurs were shot dead in Poskam and Kargilik (in Chinese, Yecheng) counties while four Tibetans were killed during a protest in Driru (in Chinese, Biru) on 8 October.  During the month, information also emerged that, in Inner Mongolia, China launched an "Anti-Terror" operation code- named "2013 - Mission Stability".

Mr. Temtsiltu Shobtsood, the chairman of the Inner Mongolian People’s Party (IMPP), recently told Radio Free Asia that the Chinese authorities are using the terrorism drills "as an excuse" to crack down on the Mongolian rights movement. "I believe that there have been no 'acts of terror' so far in Inner Mongolia. What Mongolians are doing is protecting their rights. The Chinese government is using the anti-terror drills as an excuse. Any rebellion by Mongolians will be labeled as an act of terror."

UNPO alerts Member-States of the United Nations that the practice of enforced disappearances has now become a major human rights issue affecting Mongolians, Tibetans and Uyghurs.  In Inner Mongolia, the whereabouts of Mr. Hada remain unknown even after having served his prison sentence; while in East Turkestan one of the many cases is that of Mr. Alimjan Helaji, aged 17 who has been missing since clashes that broke out between Chinese and Uyghurs on July 5, 2009.

In Tibet, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) recently dwelt on the case of the XIth Panchen Lama of Tibet stating: "The situation of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who disappeared at the age of six years in 1995, and despite the State party’s information, mainland China has not allowed any independent expert to visit and confirm his whereabouts, fulfilment of his rights and well-being...Immediately allow an independent expert to visit Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and verify his health and living conditions"

"The biggest challenge for the UPR mechanism is whether governments will shoulder their responsibilities by scrutinizing China over its human rights failures or whether governments will use the mechanism to encourage Beijing to continue its current policy of trampling human rights with impunity," said Mr. Ngawang Choephel, UNPO President.

UNPO General Secretary, Marino Busdachin, urges Member-States of the United Nations to take into account that one of the biggest threats to the very survival of the religious, cultural and national identity of Mongolians, Tibetans and Uyghurs is China's policy of population transfer of Chinese settlers into East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia and Tibet. 

Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food of the Human Rights Council noted that, since 1985, China had implemented a range of policies in Tibet Autonomous Region, Sichuan, Qinghai, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, which had in fact resulted in the settlement of herdsmen and their abandonment of nomadic life. The expert was concerned that resettlement in the “new socialist” villages meant giving up herding and farming revenues.

The expert recommended that China suspend the non-voluntary resettlement of nomadic herders from their traditional lands and the non-voluntary relocation or rehousing programs of other rural residents, in order to allow meaningful consultations to take place with the affected communities, permitting parties to examine all available options.

UNPO take notes that China's UPR National Report pledged that China "welcomes the High Commissioner to visit China at a mutually suitable time."  However, UNPO would like remind the international community that a similar pledge was made by the Chinese delegation during the first-cycle of China's UPR in 2009.

In this respect, UNPO urges the People's Republic of China to receive the High Commissioner for Human Rights immediately and also respond positively to the 12 outstanding requests for visits by the Special Procedures mandate-holders of the Council. 


Ngawang Choephel, UNPO President - +41 76 616 6573

Dolkun Isa, Executive Chair, World Uyghur Congress - +49 179 819 6260

Marino Busdachin, UNPO General Secretary - +32 2 513 14 59

Picture attributed to US Mission in Geneva