Tashi Wangchuk, Photo:UNPO
DHARAMSHALA JUNE 6 – UN human rights experts have condemned the five-year jail sentence handed to Tibetan language right activist Tashi Wangchuk by a Chinese court for his work to promote cultural and linguistic rights of the Tibetans in Tibet. The Intermediate Court in Yushu, Qinghai province, made public its verdict on 22 May, nearly five months after hearing the case against Mr. Wangchuk.
Wangchuk was arrested in January 2016 for featuring in a documentary in which he appealed for education in the Tibetan minority language and for the right of Tibetan people to partake in their cultural life. He has been held in detention since his arrest.
The Court found him guilty of “incitement to separatism”.
“We are gravely concerned about the sentencing of Mr. Tashi Wangchuk, and the sanctioning of his right to freely express his opinion about the human rights of the Tibetan minority of China,” the experts said last week.
“Governments should under no circumstances undermine or repress legitimate human rights advocacy and action, such as in this case, using national security, public order or anti-terrorism discourses”, they added.
“It is deeply concerning that this sentencing came after we issued two joint communications calling for his immediate release and for all of the charges to be dropped,” the experts said.
“We asked the Government to provide information about specific measures undertaken to promote and protect the linguistic and cultural rights of the Tibetan minority. We regret that, to date, the Government of China has not yet provided us with a satisfactory response.”
In December 2017, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a statement saying Wangchuk’s detention was arbitrary and in contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Once again, we strongly urge the Chinese authorities to comply with their international human rights commitments, to grant Mr. Wangchuk immediate release and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations.” Ngawang Choephel Drakmagyapon in Geneva contributed to this report.