May 20, 2020

Tibet: UN Urges China to elease HR Defender

Experts at the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights of the UN (OHCHR) have condemned China for its imprisonment of A-Nya Sengdra, a Tibetan human rights defender, which are part of a wider crackdown against against Tibetan minority rights activists. Sengdra's health and mental wellbeing have been deteriorating due to the harsh conditions he faces in prison, where he has been given a 7 year sentence for "gathering people to disturb public order" and starting trouble. The OHCHR calls on China to comply with international law and lift the charges againts Sengdra.  

Below is an update from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights of the UN

GENEVA (19 May 2020) – UN human rights experts* have called on China to lift charges against a Tibetan minority human rights defender who is awaiting an appeal hearing against a seven-year jail sentence imposed on disturbing public order charges.

"We are deeply concerned by what appears to be the criminalisation of the legitimate work of a minority community member and human rights defender. We are also concerned about the reports of deterioration of his physical and mental integrity due to poor detention conditions," said the experts.

A-Nya Sengdra had been campaigning against alleged corruption, illegal mining and illegal hunting and poaching of endangered animals before he was arrested and allegedly beaten on 4 September 2018 in Qinghai province.

The human rights defender was sentenced on 6 December last year after being found guilty on charges of "gathering people to disturb public order" and "picking quarrels and provoking trouble". Other Tibetan minority representatives from Qinghai province were also charged and given similar jail terms.

Sengdra's appeal court hearing was postponed last month and is now expected anytime soon.

"The charges against Mr Sengdra stem from a wider crackdown on Tibetan minority human rights defenders. They constitute violations of Mr Sengdra's right as a member of a minority community to exercise his human rights without discrimination or intimidation, including his freedom of expression," the experts said. 

"We urge the authorities to comply with their obligations under international law, including by lifting the charges against Mr Sengdra. The human rights of the Tibetan minority must be fully respected."

The experts have sought information from the Chinese Government.



Photo: Anya Sengdra (undated). Credit: Radio Free Asia.