Representatives from Tibet groups discussed submissions on rights violations by China in Tibet to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in a virtual panel on 8 February, ahead of the 73rd session of the CESCR. China is scheduled to sit for the review from 15 February to 16 February 2023.
The panellists included Representative Thinlay Chukki of the Tibet Bureau, Geneva; CTA’s spokespersons and DIIR’s additional secretary Tenzin Lekshay; Executive Director of International Campaign for Tibet-Germany Kai Müller and Tibet Advocacy Coalition’s coordinator Gloria Montgomery. The panel was moderated by the UN Advocacy Officer of the Tibet Bureau Kalden Tsomo.
While delivering the opening remark, Representative Thinlay Chukki thanked the group of three UN Special Rapporteurs for strongly worded press release on finding nearly 1 million Tibetan children forcibly removed from families and assimilation of Tibetan cultural and linguistic identity through residential schools. Representative Thinlay further gave an overview of the review cycle along with the Tibet-related List of Issues (LOIs) raised by the UN Committee to China during the preparatory stage of the review cycle.
Spokespersons of the Central Tibetan Administration and DIIR Additional Secretary Tenzin Lekshay underlined systemic violations of the fundamental rights of Tibetan people by China since Tibet came under illegal occupation of China. Detailing the issues raised in the submission by the Tibet Bureau, in coordination with the Department of Information and International Relations, Add. Secretary Tenzin Lekshay touched upon disturbing developments in Tibet, compulsory DNA collections of Tibetans, China’s failed “Zero-COVID policy”, in addition to key area of concerns raised in the submissions, Tenzin Lekshay spoke about China’s oppressive actions and policies to wipe away Tibetan cultural identity. The submission is available to read here and read here.
Executive director of International Campaign for Tibet-Germany, Kai Müller, highlighted the rights violations issues raised in the joint submission made by International Campaign for Tibet-Germany along with the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Focusing on issues of forced relocation, coercive labour programs and persecution of Tibetan human rights defenders by China raised in the joint submission, Kai Müller said, “since the 1980s, Tibetans have undergone an unprecedented process of relocation and resettlement”. He further added China’s forced relocation policies have also contributed to the subjection of Tibetans to coercive labour programs. The submission can be read here.
Speaking on the joint submission made by the Tibet Advocacy Coalition team (Tibet Justice Center, Tibet Network, SFT, Tibetan Youth Association Europe and Tibet Initiative Deutschland), Tibet Advocacy coalition’s coordinator Gloria Mongomery said China is cracking down on rights of Tibetan people from every angle. “There are no areas of Tibetan life that remain untouched by China’s occupation”, said Gloria. The issues of residential schools and cases of Tibetans dying in custody and shortly after being released from custody were raised amongst other issues in the submissions. The Tibet Advocacy Coalition’s joint submission is available to read here.