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NGOs hold China accountable for crackdown on Tibetans at UN meeting
Phayul[Tuesday, September 21, 2010 15:15]
Ms Juliette De Rivero of Human Rights Watch addresses the 15th session of the UN Human Rights Council, September 20, 2010
Ms Juliette De Rivero of Human Rights Watch addresses the 15th session of the UN Human Rights Council, September 20, 2010
Dharamsala, September 21 - The Human Rights Watch and other international right groups on Monday demanded at the 15th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council that China "release accurate information about those killed and injured by security forces and hold accountable, in a manner consistent with international human rights law, those responsible for using excessive use of force against unarmed protesters" following the 2008 Tibetan Uprising.

5 NGOs from France, USA, Germany and India also called upon the Chinese government to "conduct an effective, independent and transparent investigation into the extrajudicial killings of Tibetans in Palyul so that those responsible for these unlawful acts are made accountable and the affected Tibetan families fully compensated." The 5 NGOs, in a joint statement, expressed concerns over the recent crackdown on Tibetan protestors against mining in Eastern Tibet including Palyul.

On August 18, three Tibetans were killed and 30 others severely wounded after Chinese security forces opened fire on unarmed Tibetan petitioners outside a government building in Palyul County, Sichuan Province. The Tibetans had written to the local Chinese authorities to stop expansion of gold mining activities in the area.

Some 50 NGOs and 29 countries inscribed to speak to the UN highest human rights body on the agenda item on "human rights situations that require the Council's attention."

Belgium on behalf of EU countries, Croatia, Iceland, FYR of Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovinia and Montenegro stated on September 17 that they remain "preoccupied" with the situation of "ethnic and religious minorities" in China. The EU also urged China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Beijing signed in 1998.

Ms. Juliette De Rivero, Human Rights Watch Director in Geneva, told the Council that her organisation’s Tibet report of July 2010 showed that the Chinese authorities "have yet to account for hundreds of detainees arrested in the wake of the unrest, and that the highly politicized judicial system continues to preclude any possibility of protesters being judged fairly."

"More than two years after the protests, disappearances, wrongful convictions and imprisonment, persecution of families, and the targeting of Tibetans suspected of sympathizing with the protest movement continue unabated," De Rivero added.

Mr. Gianfranco Fattorini, UN Representative of French NGO, Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP) delivering the statement on behalf of the 5 NGOs told the Council that the Tibetans in Palyul "were protesting against the gold mining operations by Chinese-owned Kartin Company which had led to an overcrowded population, severely degraded the fertility of the farmland, and adversely affected the local grassland habitat."

Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network, International Educational Development, France-Libertes and Society for Threatened Peoples were the other NGOs who co-sponsored the MRAP statement.

Last week, in an Opening Statement to the Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said that the curtailment of civil society's scope of action in a number of countries, including China was "disturbing."

Human Rights Watch statement also expressed concerns that the Chinese government has not allowed the High Commissioner or Special Rapporteurs to visit Tibet despite repeated calls over the past two years.

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