DHARAMSHALA, March 2: Member countries at the ongoing 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva have raised the current situation in Tibet.
Maria Otero, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights in her address today expressed the US Government’s "grave concern" at the current situation in Tibet.
"The United States remains gravely concerned about recent violence and continuing tensions in Tibetan areas of China. We call on all governments including China to respect the fundamental freedoms of religion and expression of all of its citizens including members of ethnic minorities,” Otero said.
On Wednesday, Czech Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister had expressed “serious unease” at the present situation inside Tibet, in a statement made during Sessions’ High Level Segment.
“With serious unease, we follow the continued escalation of tensions in Tibetan areas of China as evidenced by a spate of self-immolations. Last year, 22 Tibetans decided to act in such a tragic way in order to wake up the establishment and attract our attention,” said Mr. Karel Schwarzenberg.
The session, attended by diplomats and government officials from 70 countries, has concentrated most of its time and energy on the armed conflict in Syria, between the government forces and the rebels.
The session passed a resolution “strongly condemning the continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental rights by the Syrian authorities” and “deplored the Syrian regime’s brutal actions over the past 11 months.”
On February 4, China along with Russia had voted against a UN Security Council resolution that provided for Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, to step aside, halt the ruthless crackdown on dissidents, and begin a transition to democracy.
Within weeks of the tacit backing from the two UN veto powers, the estimated death toll in Syria rose from 5,400 to more than 7,500.
The Syrian National Council, the biggest opposition group, said Russia and China were "responsible for the escalating acts of killing", calling the veto "an irresponsible step that is tantamount to a licence to kill with impunity".
Earlier, the Secretary-General of the UNHRC agreed to publish and circulate a written statement on the discrimination being faced by Tibetans inside Tibet and China’s failure to abide by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to which it is party.
The statement submitted by a France based NGO, the Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitie entre les peuples (MRAP), will be made available to all delegates at the 19th Session of the UNHRC.
The statement discusses in detail the increasing discrimination against Tibetans in Tibet as evidenced in Chinese policies and laws for Tibetan autonomous areas, discriminatory law enforcement practices, discrimination on the basis of religious belief, and discrimination through economic development.
“Chinese discriminatory rhetoric and practices have only intensified with the Tibetan people continuing their demand for human rights and fundamental freedoms," the MRAP's statement said.
The 19th session of the HRC will go on till March 23.Article re-edited on 02/03/2012 17:48 IST