Tibet Among UN Panel on Torture's Question to China
Phayul[Friday, November 07, 2008 11:02]
Pro-Tibet protesters carry portraits of Tibetans allegedly killed during protests in Tibet and march without shouting slogans through Tokyo streets Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008, AP file photo/ Shizuo Kambayashi
Pro-Tibet protesters carry portraits of Tibetans allegedly killed during protests in Tibet and march without shouting slogans through Tokyo streets Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008, AP file photo/ Shizuo Kambayashi
Dharamshala Nov.7 – The fate of those Tibetans detained after the March protests in Tibet is among questions that a 10-member panel of U.N. Committee Against Torture will ask the Chinese government. China will appear before a the panel of UN Committee Against Torture on Friday.

Questions submitted to Beijing also include ‘sexual violence in prisons, targeted attacks on human rights campaigners, and the fate of those detained after March protests in Tibet.’

Rights groups hope that China's appearance before the United Nations panel will shed light on what they say are widespread abuses in the country, Reuters reported.

Corinna-Barbara Francis of Amnesty International said the rare public grilling would heap pressure on Beijing to increase its monitoring and do more to reduce the incidence of torture.

"A country like China typically can evade that sort of formal analysis and scrutiny," she said. "It is important that the U.N. (committee) is looking at China and scrutinizing it."

Amnesty and more than a dozen other right groups earlier submitted reports to the U.N. panel describing acts of brutality in Chinese police stations, prisons, covert detention centers, and in the streets throughout the country.
The Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a network of Chinese rights groups, told the committee that while Beijing has introduced some new laws, it defines "torture" too narrowly and lacks the mechanisms to monitor, investigate, and sanction it.

"Except for some progress in the promulgation of legislation and administrative documents, China has made no clear and discernible improvement in prohibiting the use of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment," it said.

The Committee Against Torture monitors countries' adherence to the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which China has ratified.

"According to information before the Committee, the criminal justice system is still strongly focused on the admission of guilt, confessions and re-education through labor, which create conditions for the occurrence of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," said the CHRD.

China in a 52-page document outlining its laws banning torture, rejected several questions of the panel as "groundless."

"The extremely few cases of torture found in detention facilities are personal law-breaking acts toward detainees by a few keepers who failed to perform their duties properly," it said.

"Cases of ill-treatment of detainees are subject to serious investigation and punishment in accordance with the law."

Tibetan groups also expects China’s appearance before the UN panel to turn the world's attention back to Tibet where they say hundreds of people, including monks, nuns, and children have "disappeared" or been detained without charges or arbitrary charges since the March riots. Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy say that there are “hundreds of Tibetans who are still held without any charges and at least 105 Tibetans were known to have been sentenced so far in "TAR" and Tibetan areas outside the "TAR" for their participation in the series of protests across the Tibetan plateau since March this year.”

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