DHARAMSHALA, October 22: Tibetans and supporters appealed the United Nations to block China’s re-election to UN Human Rights Council as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group today reviews the human rights situation in China.
Five Tibet activists climbed the UN building in Geneva and unfurled a banner reading ‘China Fails Human Rights, UN: Stand Up for Tibet’. Subsequently, two climbers Laerke Arvedsen (Denmark) and Chris Brocklehurst (UK) along with Luna Pedersen (Denmark) and Phil Kirk (UK) were arrested and are currently in police custody. A fifth activist, Cheme Nelung, a Swiss-Tibetan member of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe was not among the arrested.
“Just this month, Chinese forces reportedly shot dead four Tibetan protesters in Driru and injured dozens more, in what is only the latest example of the Chinese government’s brutal rule in Tibet,” said Pema Yoko, Deputy Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “The human rights crisis in Tibet demands action by the international community and must be front and centre during today’s review.”
The deepening crisis in Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and 122 self-immolation protests since 2009.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process of the Human Rights Council that involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations.
“The Chinese officials here today will do everything they possibly can to cover up their regime’s atrocities in Tibet and pretend nothing is wrong. We’re here to expose their lies and the reality on the ground, where entire towns and villages in Tibet are under military lockdown,” said Padma Dolma, Campaigns Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “Too often the Chinese government avoids any scrutiny of its flagrant human rights abuses in Tibet but today, in Geneva, China is finally in the hot seat.”
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.