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Tibet Society submits human rights reports to Foreign Office PDF Print E-mail
[24 May 2013] Tibet Society has submitted two reports concerning human rights violations in Tibet to the UK Foreign Office. The first report, compiled by Tibet Society, addresses concerns regarding Tibetan political prisoners and includes cases which the UK government are called upon to raise with China. The second report, authored by International Tibet Network, analyses China's human rights abuses in Tibet since 2009, and has been published to coincide with the UN's upcoming review of China's human rights record. Both reports were submitted during a meeting with Foreign Office officials on 15 May.

Political prisoners in Tibet I download report (PDF)
Human rights abuses in Tibet since 2009 I download report (PDF)

Political prisoners in Tibet

Tibet Society logoTibet Society's report on political prisoners focuses on Tibetans harshly sentenced since the introduction of new laws at the end of 2012 aimed at eradicating self-immolation protests. The cases of 41 Tibetans are highlighted, all of whom were sentenced between January and mid-April 2013. Also, the report includes the cases of nine Tibetan political prisoners who have all been recently released from prison in very poor health.

The cases of those sentenced in the first four months of 2013
include 12 Tibetans charged with "intentional homicide". This new charge was introduced by the Chinese Supreme Court in December 2012 and is used against those suspected of aiding or abetting self-immolation protests. On 31 January 2013, Lobsang Kunchok became the first Tibetan to receive a death sentence (suspended for two years) on this charge. Others have been given sentences ranging from seven to 15 years.

Since January this year, prison sentences meted out for political crimes have also hardened. For example, Tibetans who have simply participated in peaceful street protests or reported on such protests have received sentences of up to four years; Lolo, a singer, was jailed for six years having released an album with political lyrics; and, Yarphel, a monk, was imprisoned for 15 months for taking part in a funeral procession for his deceased nephew who had self-immolated.

In all the cases featured, there are strong reasons to believe there has been a lack of any due legal process. Tibetans charged with 'political crimes' are rarely granted a fair hearing, with most trials held behind closed doors and defendants denied the right to choose their own lawyer. Confessions are often extracted under torture.

The report also highlights nine Tibetan political prisoners who have been recently released from prison in poor and even critical condition. The Chinese authorities are known to release prisoners in ill-health to ensure they do not die in prison.

Tibet Society is calling upon the UK government to raise all the cases in its report with Chinese leaders, ministers and officials. As well as releasing those whose only 'crime' was to express their opinion, the Chinese government must also be called upon to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratify and adhere to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and adhere to its own constitution which stipulates that Chinese citizens are guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.

TAKE ACTION: Add your support to Tibet Society's call upon the UK government to take positive action and stand up for the rights and freedoms of the Tibetan people - write to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister; contact your MP; leave a message on the Foreign Office website. Click here for action details including recommended asks, addresses and links.

View report  I  Take action

Human rights abuses in Tibet since 2009
ITN logoTibet Society also submitted a report to the Foreign Office, on behalf of the International Tibet Network, which analyses the Chinese government's human rights record in Tibet since 2009. The report has been published ahead of China's Universal Periodic Review, due to be held in October.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism by which the United Nation's Human Rights Council reviews the performance of UN Member States against their human rights obligations and commitments.

International Tibet Network, a global coalition of Tibet groups including Tibet Society, is calling upon the UK government to include concerns over the human rights situation in Tibet in recommendations or questions during the UPR process. Similar requests are being made of other governments, including the EU, USA, Germany, France, India, Australia, Japan and other countries expected to take part in the UPR. UN Special Rapporteurs are also being asked to include references to Tibet in their reports.

Concerns raised in the report include:
  • the Chinese government's disproportionate use of force in response to mass gatherings,
  • human rights violations in response to self-immolation protests,
  • contraventions to the freedom of expression and freedom of movement,
  • the lack of fair and proper judiciary processes resulting in unjust and excessive prison sentences
  • the increased use of 'patriotic re-education'
  • issues relating to economic, social and cultural rights, in particular China's policy of non-voluntary resettlement of nomadic herders into urban areas.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations for China to take to demonstrate its commitment to human rights and the UPR process. Recommendations include:
  • the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and working towards its compliance,
  • allowing UN officials to visit Tibetan regions,
  • immediately and unconditionally releasing those imprisoned for exercising basic civil and political rights,
  • ceasing the persecution, arbitrary arrest and wrongful imprisonment of those pursuing peaceful political or religious activities,
  • stopping the use of 'patriotic re-education',
  • ending the policy of forced resettlement of nomads and allowing them to return to their lands.
In the coming months Tibet Society will continue to press the UK government to raise concerns over Tibet during the UPR process. We will report any developments.

View report

Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 24; Overseas 36; Life 500).
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