The Progressive


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For Immediate Release
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Statement on Tibet at the Human Rights Council

Oral statement during the general debate


Human Rights Watch is concerned about the
situation of the Tibetan minority nationality in the People's Republic
of China as they continue to be the target of systematic governmental
repression. The Chinese government continues to drastically restrict
access to the Tibetan areas of China aside from a handful of
closely-supervised government-organized tours for selected international
media or foreign diplomats.

In a new report issued on July 2010, Human Rights Watch documented
the widespread abuses committed by Chinese security forces in
suppressing the Spring 2008 wave of Tibetan protests. Human Rights Watch
does not dispute that the Chinese government has the duty to maintain
public order and prosecute violent protesters, and that a number of
incidents in 2008 involved violence or had the potential to devolve into
violence. Yet the report also found that Chinese security forces had
used disproportionate force and acted with deliberate brutality during
and after the protests.

In addition, the report showed that officials in Tibet have yet to
account for hundreds of detainees arrested in the wake of the unrest,
and that the highly politicized judicial system continues to preclude
any possibility of protesters being judged fairly. More than two years
after the protests, disappearances, wrongful convictions and
imprisonment, persecution of families, and the targeting of Tibetans
suspected of sympathizing with the protest movement continue unabated.

China must release all detainees that have not been charged or who
have been detained for exercising their freedom of expression. China
must release accurate information about those killed and injured by
security forces and hold accountable, in a manner consistent with
international human rights law, those responsible for using excessive
use of force against unarmed protesters.

Mr. President, in September 2009, the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, identified
"discrimination and the failure to protect minority rights" as
"underlying causes" behind the protests in Tibet. Despite repeated calls
over the past two years the Chinese government has not allowed the High
Commissioner or special rapporteurs to visit the region.

In fact China has not agreed to a vast majority of Special Procedures
requests to visit the country. Requests from the Special Rapporteurs or
experts on freedom of expression, toxic waste, health and human rights,
extrajudicial executions, extreme poverty, human rights defenders, the
right to adequate housing, minority issues and access to safe drinking
water and sanitation are all pending. An agreed visit for the Special
Rapporteur on freedom of religion has been pending since 2004 and we
have yet to see the whether the Special Rapporteur on right to food will
actually be able to visit the country. Human Rights Watch urges the
Human Rights Council to call on the Chinese government to allow such
visits to take place as a matter of urgency. Mr. President, at this
session the High Commissioner said that the curtailment of civil
society's scope of action in countries such as China was disturbing.
China's efforts to suppress human rights defenders voices even at this
council is a sad sign of its intransigence. The Human Rights Council
should call on China to abide by its international human rights
obligations and respect human rights defenders' right to work freely and
safely for the protection of human rights in China.

Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Our rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world.