TIBETANS CONVERGE ON UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL SESSION IN GENEVA
Exiled Tibetans from across Europe delivered a 55,000-strong petition to the UN Human Rights Council urging greater action to address the spiraling human rights crisis in Tibet. Tibetans from France, Austria and Switzerland are in Geneva this week to attend the UN Human Rights Council session and personally urge official representatives to table a strong resolution on China’s human rights violations in Tibet.
“Previous statements of concern by member-states have been welcomed but the deteriorating human rights situation inside Tibet demands the strongest diplomatic action possible by the UN Human Rights Council,” said Migmar Dhakyel of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe. “The UN must act to pass a resolution now holding the Chinese government accountable for its grave human rights violations in Tibet that amount to crimes against humanity and cultural genocide.”
A Tibet resolution has not been tabled at the UNHRC for over half a decade , evidence of the Council’s failure to uphold its primary purpose of addressing critical human rights violations around the world. In the past 12 months, 39 Tibetans in Tibet have set themselves on fire in an unprecedented wave of protest against China’s repressive rule and failed policies; 41 self-immolations have taken place since 2009, at least 30 have been fatal.
In January 2012 a wave of large-scale peaceful protests broke out across eastern Tibet and Chinese security forces responded to this resistance by opening fire on crowds, killing at least five Tibetans and seriously injuring many more.  “For over six-decades now, Tibetans in Tibet are continuously resisting China’s violent rule; now they are lighting their own bodies on fire as a cry to the world to help restore their fundamental rights as human beings,” Tenzin Namgyal of Students for a Free Tibet France said. “As the body responsible for monitoring human rights violations around the world, the UNHRC has an obligation to the people of Tibet and we’re here today to personally bring this message to the Council members.”
This morning, in the Place des Nations in front of the UN Building in Geneva, the Tibetan delegation  unfurled a huge banner displaying photos of thousands of concerned global citizens who are calling for greater multi-lateral action on Tibet.
“The message from Tibetans inside Tibet is clear; the message from tens of thousands of concerned global citizens is clear: the United Nations must pass an urgent resolution on the Tibet crisis now!” Tsetan Zouchbauer of the SOSTibet, Austria said. “China is responsible for writing the darkest chapter in Tibet’s history. Now the UN must take bold multi-lateral action to hold China accountable for its repressive rule in Tibet – which violates every major international human rights protocol.”
Tibetans in Tibet are continuing to risk everything to advocate for their freedom in defiance of China’s leadership, which earlier this year announced it was preparing for “war” against Tibetan “saboteurs” . In an effort to stop news of the unrest across Tibet reaching the outside world the Chinese government has sealed Tibet off from foreigners and journalists. Earlier in 2012, undercover footage of the military build-up in eastern Tibet was smuggled out revealing China’s intense security clampdown that is fueling greater unrest across Tibet. 
“Previous inaction by world governments and international bodies has allowed the human rights situation in Tibet to worsen; if something is not done soon it could easily spiral out of control,” said Gyamtso Tenzin, Students for a Free Tibet France.
“We need the UN to stand on the right side of history and take principled, decisive diplomatic action to address the Tibet crisis now.”
1. Neither a Tibet nor China resolution has been forwarded at the UN since the U.S. backed away from a resolution in 2005
2. See Resistance in Tibet: Self-immolation and Protest – a report and map of the current protests sweeping Tibet
3. The Tibetan delegation in Geneva are representatives of Tibet Groups from across Europe, all of them members of The International Tibet Network a global coalition of 185 Tibet related organizations, which regard Tibet as an occupied country, are dedicated to ending human rights violations in Tibet, and to working actively to restore the Tibetan people’s right under international law to determine their own political, economic, social, religious, and cultural status.
4. In February 2012, Tibet Autonomous Region Party Secretary Chen Quanguo told officials to prepare for “a war against secessionist sabotage” [Tibet Daily, quoted by The Telegraph] 5. Sky News 6 March 2012, “China: Self-Immolations are terrorism in disguise”.