Jun 15, 2009

Tibet: NGOs Inform UN about Human Rights Situation

Active ImageTwo NGOs appear in front of the 11th Session of the UN Human Rights Council to report on human rights violations in Tibet, including the denial of cultural heritage, supression of dissent and denunciations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.


Below is an article published by Tibet Custom:

Two Tibetan non governmental organisations have expressed their concern over the deprivation of rights to the Tibetan children to study their history and cultural heritage, and China's policy of repression and indoctrinating Tibetans living inside Tibet to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan delegates raised the issues of human rights violations in Tibet during the second week of 11th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, 8 June [2009].

Mr. Tenzin Samphel Kayta, on behalf of Society for Threatened Peoples drew attention of the UN member states on the recent report on Tibet published by a group of prominent Chinese lawyers and legal scholars. The report recommended the Chinese government to "pay close attention to the living situation of young Tibetans, and with the greatest good faith resolve current education problems in Tibetan areas, particularly the problems of rural education and education for farmers and nomads, and to facilitate Tibetan children to complete nine-year compulsory education. "

The report called for the need to develop and encourage training mechanisms for highly skilled personnel in Tibetan areas, and to optimize specialized knowledge structures among college students.

It called for the “need to speed up and improve grass-roots professional technical education in Tibetan areas, and using the method of joint work and study as used in schools in the eastern provinces to allow Tibetan students to set out and increase the degree of training in schools’ high-tech content and training in practical production in Tibetan areas. It emphasised the need to train skilled workers and eliminate all barriers for encouraging varied Tibetan employment and entrepreneurship.”

“Particular attention should be paid in school education on extending and developing appropriate content on Tibetan history and culture, and increasing the civic awareness content of the training. Education and training must be regarded as the most important long-term resolution to the question of Tibetan areas,” the report added.

Mr Kayta further said “these recommendations by the Chinese lawyers reveals that all is not well as far as the current education policy of the Chinese authorities, a policy which continues to deprive Tibetan children education of the history and cultural heritage of their people. Instead they grow up under communist campaigns like the “patriotic education” which demands that they denounce their spiritual leader and show allegiance to the Communist Party of China.

He gave a reference to an incident which occurred on 29 April 2009, where a several hundred Tibetan students of the Lhabrang Tibetan Middle School staged a protest opposing China’s defamation campaign against the Dalai Lama. A source with contacts in the area said that the main reason for the students' protest is that the local authorities are implementing a campaign of patriotic education and 'anti-separatism' in schools, which is strongly focused on denouncing the Dalai Lama.

He emphasised that the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in 2001 expressed concern “about continuous reports of discrimination with regard to the right to education in minority regions, with particular emphasis on Tibet,” and recommended that China “urgently ensure that children in all minority areas have the right to develop knowledge about their own language and culture as well as the Chinese, and that they are guaranteed equal opportunities, particularly with regard to access to higher education.”

The Chinese authorities acknowledged in their latest report to CERD that “there is still a gap in the development of education between ethnic areas and economically developed areas. They also accepted that educational facilities in some rural schools are backward and the teaching staff there needs to be further reinforced.”

Dekyi Dolkar, on behalf of of Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights said “for the past decades, the Chinese authorities have placed severe limitations on the freedom of speech in Tibetan areas. These restrictions have applied to all expressions of the Tibetan national identity, including the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, calling for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet, or opposing to Chinese government policies. There also exists a climate of campaigns against 'reactionary' cultural activity and Tibetans who openly participate in speech not approved by the government and confront re-education through labour, detention without trial, and lengthy prison sentences.

She raised, among many cases, of a young Tibetan writer and teacher named Dolma Kyab who was given a ten-year prison sentence on charges that appear to be of 'endangering state security' after he openly wrote about Tibetan geography, history and religion in an unpublished book titled 'The Restless Himalayas'.

Another Tibetan named Norzin Wangmo, a female cadre who was sentenced to five years in prison for passing information over the phone and internet about the situation in Tibet to the outside world.

She expressed concern over the attacks and closing down of websites owned bloggers such as Woeser, who writes on current situation in Tibet. Woeser's blog, 'Invisible Tibet', has been one of the most widely read and important sources of information on the ongoing crackdown on the Tibetan Plateau.