Drawing attention to the human rights situation across the world, a group of UN member states expressed concerns over China’s continued violations of human rights in Tibet.
In the global update of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with reference to China, the High Commissioner highlighted treaty bodies’ findings on rights violations by China, including “assimilation policies that undermine the identity “of Tibetan people. The High Commissioner also informed the council that the High Commissioner’s office is “seeking further engagement” with China, including the importance “to establish” the presence of the UN human rights office for the “first time” in China. Furthermore, the High Commissioner called upon China to “seek the expertise of Special Procedures mandate holders”.
Following the presentation of the High Commissioner’s global update, UN member states including Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the United Kingdom raised Tibet in the respective country’s statement.
While welcoming the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ proposal for the establishment of the presence of the UN human rights office in China, the Czech Republic urged China to “uphold” its international obligations and protect the universal human rights of all individuals, including by ending the ongoing serious and systematic human rights violations in Tibet. Similarly, the United Kingdom urged China to uphold its international obligations and protect the universal human rights of all individuals, including by ending the ongoing serious and systematic human rights violations in Tibet.
Furthermore, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany expressed “deep concern” over the human rights situation in Tibet and raised a series of issues including the persecution of human rights defenders. Echoing the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) findings on violations of human rights by China, Australia raised concern over the mistreatment of Tibetan women in Tibet.
The United States delivered a joint statement on behalf of the 65 UN member states that drew attention to deplorable human rights violations committed by the state “against persons belonging to religious, linguistic, national, and ethnic minorities, often with the stated aim of mitigating a perceived security threat”. The joint statement delivered by the United States raised a series of rights violations, including laws and policies specifically restricting and suppressing the practices that are part of the identity and cultural life of persons belonging to minorities: authorities destroyed cultural heritage sites, cemeteries and places of worship; suppress languages; forcibly assimilate children through the education system; place severe restrictions on movement; and restrict access to livelihoods, education, and healthcare”.
Additionally, during an interactive dialogue on specific thematic issues, the United States commended the UN Special Rapporteur on Education for bringing attention to the Chinese government-run boarding schools in Tibet. The forced boarding school run by the Chinese government in Tibet has “forcibly separated” nearly a million Tibetan children from their families, and is of “serious human rights concerns”, said the United States.
The Tibet Bureau and Society for Threatened Peoples jointly organised a side event to shed light on repression by China in Tibet. Furthermore, the discriminatory practices by China against Tibetan women and China’s colonial-style boarding schools in Tibet were raised at the 53rd UN Human Rights Council session.