Nov 13, 2008

Tibet: UN Panel Presses China

Active ImageThe UN Committte Against Torture has voiced concern over Chinese torture practices in Tibet.


The article below was published by Tibet Custom:

A United Nations (UN) watchdog investigating torture allegations on Monday [10 November 2008] pressed China to provide details of Tibetans who were arrested, disappeared, brutally tortured and killed during the crackdown on Tibetans across Tibet since March this year [2008].

The UN Committee Against Torture body of independent experts voiced concern that China has not presented sufficient information to show its compliance with its international obligation to end torture.

The Committee against Torture is a body of 10 independent experts tasked with monitoring implementation by State parties of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

“The Chinese delegates largely evaded the substantive issues,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China (HRIC). “Overall, we are disappointed by the failure of the delegation to address specific issues and cases of concern raised by the Committee. Instead, they focused on reciting formal provisions of law and presenting statistics in isolation.

Committee members pressed the Chinese delegation for clarification of many areas of law and information about cases they saw as relevant to the practice of torture, which include the state secrets designation of cases, which in effect deprives a detainee of the right to counsel, acts causing mental suffering, or acts of torture committed by non-judicial officials hired by the government and the ongoing crackdown on lawyers.

During the review meeting in Geneva on 6 November [2008], human rights group including the International Campaign for Tibet and Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy expressed their deep concern over China’s failure to respond to address human rights issues in Tibet.

The rights groups reminded the UN panel of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s grave concern that “Tibetans are being handed down a death sentence and Tibet, an ancient nation with an ancient cultural heritage is dying.”

The right groups has sought an additional report from China to account for the situation in Tibet, including the official figures on arrests, killed, injured, disappeared and sentenced.

They encouraged China to receive the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Tibetan areas in China as a follow-up to the request made by the former-High Commissioner on 27 March 2008.

Welcoming the recent visit of the Norwegian Parliamentary Delegation to “Tibet Autonomous Region”, they urged the Chinese authorities to receive Special Procedure Mandate-holders to conduct fact-finding mission to Tibetan areas.

They also urged China to abolish the ‘Reeducation Through Labour (RTL)’ system, implement a moratorium on executions, launch of a human rights education programme and establish a national human rights institution based on the Principles.

The right groups urged China to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. They sought information from Chinese government on the whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and to form an independent body to visit the Panchen Lama and his family members.

In their response, Shen Yang, an official with China's Ethnic Affairs Commission, told the committee that "Choekyi Nyima and his family are leading a normal life and they don't want to be disturbed."

The UN's Committee Against Torture will make its final recommendations known in a report on November 21 [2008].