Governments Express Concerns About Tibet Crisis In UN Human Rights Council
Taking part in the discussion on “human rights situations that require the Council’s attention,” the Governments of Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Sweden and the United States expressed specific concerns about the current crisis in Tibet.
Denmark’s statement on behalf of the European Union was also supported by non-EU members Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Liechtenstein.
Belgium raised the brutal repression of Tibetan demonstrations by Chinese authorities and the self-immolation by 42 Tibetans because Tibetans feel that their cultural and religious rights are not fully respected.
Canada criticized Chinese government policies restricting religious practices.
Denmark brought to the Council’s attention the deteriorating situation in Tibetan areas of Sichuan province, and the news of mass arrests and detentions following self-immolations in Lhasa and elsewhere, as well as reports that the Tibet Autonomous Region has been closed to foreigners.
The United States said Chinese government policies undermine the Tibetans’ linguistic, religious and cultural traditions.
Denmark and Sweden called on the Chinese government to ensure that the human rights of persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, notably in Tibet and Xinjiang, are fully respected, including their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion or belief, as well as the right to enjoy their own culture and use their own language.
Czech Republic demanded unhindered access to all Tibetan areas for independent monitoring, including by diplomats and journalists.
Tsering Jampa, Executive Director of the Washington-based human rights group International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), said: “We have seen a significant and timely reaction to the crisis situation in Tibet by government delegations during the 20th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.” It urged the Chinese government to fully consider the concerns expressed by the international community, “according to its obligations to various international human rights covenants.”