UN rights chief urges China to address human rights situation in Tibet

UN rights chief urges China to address human rights situation in Tibet

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[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Friday called on China [press release] to remedy long-held frustrations in Tibet that have led to recent extreme protest tactics, including self-immolation. Pillay expressed concern that the Chinese government is suppressing Tibetans’ freedom of expression and that the government is using excessive force against peaceful protestors. Pillay also urged Tibetans to not resort to self-immolation or other extreme protest measures. In the press release, Pillay emphasized that mutual understanding, rather than force, is needed to ensure peace in Tibet:

Social stability in Tibet will never be achieved through heavy security measures and suppression of human rights. Deep underlying issues need to be addressed, and I call on the Government to seriously consider the recommendations made to it by various international human rights bodies, as well as to avail itself of the expert advice being offered by the UN’s independent experts on human rights.

Pillay suggested as a remedial measure [UN News Centre report] that China allow independent monitors to assess the situation in Tibet.

China has long imposed rigid restrictions on Tibet. In February Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] demanded [JURIST report] that China release Tibetan prisoners who were forced into re-education camps. In November 2011, the UN formally expressed concern [JURIST report] over China’s treatment of Tibet. In June 2011, concern over an influx of missing persons prompted a UN rights body to demand a report on disappearances [JURIST report]. That same month, the US requested China release peaceful protesters [JURIST report] arrested in Tiananmen Square. In July of 2010, HRW published a report alleging China violated international law [JURIST report] in its treatment of Tibetan protesters. Secrecy in China’s judicial system [JURIST comment] often raises human rights concern over prisoners being held there.