10 December 2006 marks the 58th International Human Rights Day. And today the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) commemorates its 10th founding anniversary also. For a decade the Centre has strived hard to highlight the state of human rights in Tibet. Over the past ten years, TCHRD has endeavored to uncover human rights violations in Tibet and reveal its findings to the rest of the world. As TCHRD prepares to embark upon another decade of human rights research, it remains firmly committed to realizing the goals set out in its mission.
Throughout 2006, various human rights abuses in Tibet were reported affecting both the civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights of the Tibetan people. Arbitrary arrest, detention and imprisonment continue to be appalling as ever in Tibet. The plight of the Tibetan people came to attention of the international community on 30 September when the world saw cold-blooded killings at Nangpa Pass in the Himalaya. The video, photographic, and independent testimonies by climbers showed the brutality of the China that is otherwise a regular happening in the high Himalayan escape routes. Despite the shock and condemnation expressed by individuals, non governmental organizations and diplomats, the Centre is disappointed that the UN Office of the High Commissioner
(OHCHR) for Human Rights chose to remain silent over the incident.
In May 2006, high-level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members of the so called “Tibet Autonomous Region” (“TAR”) in a meeting from 15-16 May 2006 resolved to strike hard against the Tibetan freedom activists and intensification of “patriotic re-education” campaign in the monastic institutions in Tibet. On another instance in November this year, the “TAR” CCP general body meeting resolved to stamp out “separatism”
completely. Tibetan nationalists who become the focal point of the campaigns are subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention and imprisonment and a host of other violations of rights enshrined in the international bill of human rights. The monastic community is a regular target for implementation of the Chinese campaigns to enforce loyalty to the state.
The political campaigns in the monastic institutions reign over the peaceful lives of the monks and nuns and greatly hinder their spiritual studies. Much against their wishes, they are forced to denounce the Dalai Lama thus creating a religious blasphemy. TCHRD documented 22 known Tibetans arrested for alleged political activities in 2006.
Chushul (Ch: Qushui) Prison in Tibet, which began operational around mid 2005, came into prominence this year. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Dr. Manfred Nowark, in his report to the UN Human Rights Council this year described the abominable conditions of the prison and called for the release of three prisoners (Jigme Gyatso, Bangri Rinpoche and Lobsang
Tsultrim) who he was able to meet convicted “of a political crime, possibly based on information extracted by torture”. The Chinese authority in Tibet use the new prison to imprison Tibetans served with long-term prison term. Dolma Kyab, a 29-year-old writer sentenced to 10 years jail term and Sonam Gyalpo, a 44-year-old fervent Tibetan nationalist sentenced to 12 years jail term, are known to be imprisoned in the prison this year along with many Tibetan political prisoners transferred from the notorious Drapchi Prison. TCHRD is highly concerned at the Tibetan political prisoners in Chushul Prison.
Poverty is widespread in Tibet. Chinese occupied Tibet remains one of the poorest regions in the People’s Republic of China. Education, healthcare and subsistence issues remain to be issues of concern. Discrimination of Tibetans coupled with lack of broad based educational opportunities makes the enjoyment of fundamental human rights by the Tibetans a distant dream.
On the occasion of the 58th International Human Rights Day, TCHRD urges the government of People’s Republic of China to stop abusing human rights of the Tibetan people. The Centre once again appeals to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to question the authorities in China over the cold-blooded shooting upon the fleeing Tibetans and investigate the status of the 32 unfortunate Tibetans who were arrested from the group.