DHARAMSHALA, September 26: Days ahead of China’s second Universal Periodic Review, Tibetans and supporters in Geneva are lobbying at the ongoing session of United Nations Human Rights Council to press the UN member states to raise Tibet issue during China’s UPR on October 22.
In 2009 report of China’s UPR, China accepted some recommendations on the promotion of human rights in general but played down recommendations including measures to provide freedom of information and expression; ensure the independence of the judiciary and lawyers; safeguard detainees’ access to counsel; protect lawyers from attacks and harassment; and grant freedom of religion and movement to ethnic minorities such as Tibetans and Uyghurs.
“Since China’s last Review in 2009, the situation in Tibet has deteriorated significantly and looks set to continue on a downward spiral,” said Migmar Dhakyel of Tibetan Youth Association Europe. “Governments cannot let this opportunity pass to put China’s human rights practices under the microscope on an international stage. They must Stand Up for Tibet and ensure that China’s disastrous policies are thoroughly scrutinized.”
The deepening crisis in Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and 120 self-immolation protest since 2009, 103 has died in their fiery protest calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
“The current human rights crisis in Tibet is a result of 60 years of China’s failed Tibet policies,” said Tenzin Jigme of International Tibet Network. “The international community has so far failed in its responsibility to protect the people of Tibet. Now is the time to unite for Tibet and press China to forge real, lasting solutions to the Tibet situation which respect the human rights of the Tibetan people.”
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the Human Rights Council that provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. The UPR also includes a sharing of best human rights practices around the globe.
A lobby team comprises of Migmar Dolma, Tibetan Youth Association Europe; Dorjee Tsetan, Asia Director of Students for a Free Tibet; Padma Dolma, Europe Director of Students for a Free Tibet; Iona Lidell, Tibet Justice Center; Zopa Samten and Gyamtso of Students for a Free Tibet, France.
The lobby team also noted that a global advocacy push by Tibetans and Tibet supporters is currently underway with activists raising Tibet on Foreign Ministries’ agendas around the world, urging them to take multilateral action for Tibet, including using the Universal Periodic Review to demand that China address Tibetans’ legitimate grievances.