Tibet Advocacy Coalition Echo Calls for an Urgent Human Rights Session Concerning China’s Systematic Human Rights Violations

Tibet Advocacy Coalition members [1] champion the recent United Nations Human Rights Experts statement calling on all UN Member States to support an urgent special Human Rights Council session on China’s persistent human rights violations, and for a new UN mechanism to monitor and investigate the human rights situation in China, Tibet, Hong Kong and East Turkestan.

This unprecedented statement, signed by over 50% of UN Special Procedures Mandates, highlights the magnitude of the ongoing rights abuses carried out by President Xi Jinping’s government, and how vital it is that the international community stop looking the other way when it comes to China’s consistent failure to uphold fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Tibet Advocacy Coalition, and Tibet groups from around the globe, have long been calling for a stronger, more coordinated response by governments and the UN, to the situation in Tibet. Last week’s statement championed by globally renowned rights experts, including David Kaye, Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin and Ahmed Shaheed must put an end to the decades of inertia and open a new chapter of strong, tangible action by governments to ensure the serious rights abuses carried out by Chinese authorities are fully addressed and further violations prevented.

China has for decades refused to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, and has continued to deny access to independent UN human rights monitors and to engage credibly with human rights allegations. To date, there are at least 17 outstanding visit requests to China by UN experts. The last UN expert to visit Tibet was Mr. Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on Torture, back in 2005 and Mary Robinson was the last UN High Commissioner to visit Tibet in 1998.

The Chinese government’s lack of cooperation has allowed the human rights situation in Tibet reach an unprecedented low, with the country being ranked as the second least free place in the world for civil and political rights, after only Syria, which has its own UN mechanism for monitoring human rights. The UN experts recognised this seriously deteriorated situation and highlighted the “collective repression” against the Tibetan people and raised grave concern over the prosecution and disappearances of human rights defenders.

It is imperative that the Human Rights Council, and World governments, act collectively to establish an urgent mechanism to hold China to account for the widespread, systematic human rights violations. Doing so will ensure that member states do not reward non-cooperation by, but rather maintain scrutiny of, one of the world’s worst human rights violators,” said Pema Doma from Coalition member Students for a Free Tibet.

Gloria Montgomery, Coordinator of the Tibet Advocacy Coalition said: “This call by over 50 UN experts is a strong signal that the pattern of flagrant, widespread human rights violations in Tibet will not be tolerated. It is now crucial that all UN member states urgently turn these calls into a reality by establishing a UN mechanism on China in order to end the Chinese government’s impunity for its systematic human rights violations.

Mandie McKeown from the International Tibet Network said, “We have been pushing the international community to do more to hold China accountable for a very long time. Governments cannot simply give lip service to this any longer and they must come together and do everything in their power to ensure China cooperates at the UN; including voting ‘No’ at the forthcoming Human Rights Council election – any other vote will be a direct reward of Xi Jinping’s failure to promote and protect human rights.

1. Tibet Advocacy Coalition core members are International Tibet Network Secretariat, Tibet Justice Center, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibetan Youth Association Europe and Tibet Initiative Deutschland, who work together with support and advice from Boston University’s Asylum & Human Rights Program