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UK-China Human Rights Dialogue: UK government urged to denounce China's policy in Tibet PDF Print E-mail
[16 May 2014] With the crisis in Tibet deepening and with Tibetans facing increasing restrictions on their human rights and civil liberties, Tibet Society urges the UK government to use the upcoming UK-China Human Rights Dialogue (20-21 May) to stand up for Tibet and call on China to end its crackdown on human and civil rights in Tibet and peacefully resolve the grievances of the Tibetan people.

Tibet Society logo"William Hague has publicly stated the UK government should not be afraid to advocate universal human rights with China [1]. Now is the time for the UK to act on this belief. Now is the time for the UK to stand up for Tibet, said Philippa Carrick, CEO of Tibet Society. "Chinas actions in Tibet are unacceptable and this is the message the UK government must convey to China."

Ms Carrick continued, "Tibetans in Tibet today face intolerable restrictions on religion, culture and language. This is on top of the routine denial of freedom of expression. In recent weeks, Tibetans have been tried and sentenced in secret, and jailed for up to 13 years for taking part in peaceful protests.

"World governments should not, and must not, allow China to continue to so blatantly disregard international norms both in rule of law or human rights. What purpose is there to bilateral human rights dialogue unless governments use the occasion to press for substantive and meaningful progress in bringing freedoms and rights to the people of China and Tibet?"


On 20-21 May, the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue is due to resume after a hiatus of two years. The Dialogue was originally scheduled for 14-15 April but was called off unilaterally by China. Government sources told Tibet Society they understood China scrubbed the meeting over its objection to an intervention by the UK at the UN Human Rights Council [2]. The UK had supported a motion for a minute's silence in memory of Chinese human rights defender Cao Shunli, who died on 14 March whilst in custody.

The agenda for the April meeting was also a source of contention for China, which included issues such as freedom of expression and ethnic minority rights. The agenda for the rescheduled meeting is not known, but Tibet Society has been assured the basis of the agenda would not be compromised as there would be little point to talks if there was no possibility of anything substantive being discussed.

In April, Tibet Society, as part of a coalition of NGOs, submitted a briefing paper to the UK Foreign Office. The paper outlined key human rights concerns in China and Tibet and provided a series of recommendations for the UK government to urge the Chinese government to take [3].

Amongst the recommendations are the ratification and adherence to international human rights treaties, the abolition of arbitrary detention, a moratorium on the death penalty and the release of all imprisoned human rights defenders.

In particular, Tibet Society is calling on the UK government to urge China to end their policies in Tibet which restrict religious, cultural and linguistic freedoms, and to press for full and open access to Tibet for media, diplomats and international observers.

In light of China's recent acceptance of a visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [4],
Tibet Society is calling on the UK government to urge China to provide a date for the visit for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and to guarantee Ms Pillay will be allowed free and unfettered access to Tibet.

In April, news of a series of harsh prison sentences for Tibetans emerged [5], handed down to those involved in peaceful protests in October 2013. The sentences, meted out following trials held in secret and without due process, range from 10 to 13 years and stem from an initial rejection by Tibetans to official government orders to fly Chinese flags from their homes [6]. In addition, a senior monk has been sentenced to 18 years in prison simply for the possession of photos and recordings of the Dalai Lama [7].

Tibet Society urges the UK government to call on China to not only release these Tibetans who were expressing themselves in a peaceful manner, but to give assurances that all future trials are held in an open and transparent manner and follow universally-accepted standards which allow due process.


Contact
Philippa Carrick: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it +44 (0)20 7272 1414, +44 (0)7941 105 485
Paul Golding: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it +44 (0)20 7272 1414

Notes
1. On 3 September 2013, in response to a parliamentary question, William Hague said, "I think that we should always be clear in the United Kingdom about our belief in universal human rights and never be afraid to give our advocacy for those rights. That includes relations with China." read on Tibet SocietyHansard

2. China calls off human rights dialogue with UK (Tibet Society)

3. The briefing paper was authored and presented by coalition of UK and international NGOs working on human rights in China and Tibet, including Tibet Society, Free Tibet, International Campaign for Tibet and Tibet Watch. (Other NGOs do not wish to be named due to the sensitive nature of their work.) Click here to read

4. On 20 March 214, at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

5. Recent prisoner cases (Tibet Society)

6. Overview of recent protests and crackdown in Tibet Autonomous Region (Tibet Society)

7.
Chantleader of Drongna monastery in Driru sentenced to 18 years (Phayul); Driru Area Tibetans Sentenced in Secret (Radio Free Asia)


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; Family 36; Life 500)
 
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