News and Views on Tibet

Tibetan Parliament urges UNHRC to hold special session on Tibet

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DHARAMSHALA, July 23: Tibetan lawmakers in exile have called on the apex human rights body of the United Nations to convene a special meeting in response to the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet, heralded by the ongoing wave of self-immolations.

In a statement released on Monday, the Dharamshala based Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile urged the 47 member states of the UN Human Rights Council to hold an emergency meeting on the crisis in Tibet and called on the Chinese leadership to carry out thorough investigation into the real causes of the self-immolations instead of resorting to blame games.

The Tibetan Parliament also appealed the UN and governments to send fact-finding delegations to Tibetan areas to assess the ground situation. Since 2009, as many as 120 Tibetans living under China’s rule have set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Kunchok Sonam, an 18-year-old monk of the Thangkor Sogtsang Monastery in Zoege region of eastern Tibet, on Saturday became the latest Tibetan to self-immolate. He passed away at the site of his protest after which a large number of local Tibetans gathered and rescued his body from falling into the hands of Chinese authorities.

The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in its statement reiterated that the Chinese government’s continued occupation of Tibet and its hard-line policies to annihilate Tibetan nationality, culture, religion and language are the root causes behind the self-immolations.

Earlier this month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told BBC that the situation in Tibet requires a political solution.

“I have issued public statements, asking China not to treat this as a security matter but to look into the root causes of the suffering of the Tibetans and why they are seem to be driven to such extreme measures of protests such as self-immolation,” Pillay said.

She further assured that the Human Rights Council will apply same yardstick to China while reviewing and scrutinising its human rights record this October.

In November last, the Central Tibetan Administration had also made an open appeal to the UNHRC to convene a special session on Tibet in view of the “desperate and unprecedented spate of self-immolations by Tibetans due to China’s repressive policies and the continued intransigence of the Chinese leadership to the relentless efforts of UNHRC.”

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