Tibetans in exile welcome UN human rights chief's visit to China in May

Tibetans


Dharamsala, April 30 : The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has welcomed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' visit to China and other regions, which is "foreseen to take place" in May. The announcement comes three-and-a-half years after the High Commissioner publicly called upon China to allow unrestricted access to regions for the first time in September 2018. The CTA said in a statement that it believes the visit to East Turkestan would go a long way in ameliorating the human rights situation in East Turkistan and addressing the genuine grievances of the Uyghur people. The deplorable situation in the Uyghur region must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, it said. However, sidelining Tibet during the upcoming visit in the face of ever-growing expansionist China will pose a risk and challenge the holistic approach to address human rights violations being committed by China, the statement said. China's invasion, occupation and 'misguided' policies in Tibet over the years have resulted in severe human rights violations for the Tibetan people on many levels and in different aspects of their lives. Due to the existing repressive atmosphere and an absence of civic space in Tibet, at least 158 known Tibetans have resorted to tragic self-immolation protests calling for more freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Over two million Tibetan nomads have been forcibly removed from ancestral nomadic lands in the name of "development" and "poverty alleviation", the CTA said. The Tibetan language has been systematically replaced by Mandarin and Tibetan medium schools have been forcibly shut down, it said. The continued enforced disappearance of Tibet's 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is a cause of great concern for not only Tibetans, but for the entire Tibetan Buddhist followers around the world, said a post on the CAT website. The recent joint communication by a group of six UN Special Procedures mandate holders to China over the arrest, detention and enforced disappearance of Tibetan writer Lobsang Lhundup, musician Lhundrup Drakpa and Tibetan teacher Rinchen Kyi, which demonstrate the challenges faced by Tibetans on a daily basis, in particular Tibetans who are engaged in the protection and promotion of Tibetan language, culture and traditions, or for merely expressing their views about Chinese policies being implemented in Tibet. The situation in Tibet, as per the CTA, has been worsening day by day, resulting in the slow death of Tibet's traditional culture and national identity. Therefore, a meaningful assessment of the situation in Tibet by the High Commissioner is a critical need of the hour and this can happen only with a visit to Tibet. "We are deeply dismayed by UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet's lack of responsiveness to our earlier appeal letter and the perceived obscurity surrounding the impending visit thereby contesting the credibility of the office of High Commission. In contrast with the predecessors, the High Commissioner's silence on China's human rights abuses in Tibet is deeply concerning," said Norzin Dolma, Minister for the Department of Information and International Relations, CTA. "The High Commissioner must be publicly accountable for the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' (OHCHR) observation and assessment of the human rights situation in Tibet and indicate efforts being taken by the office to mitigate the repressive and rapidly deteriorating situation in Tibet. It is more pressing than ever to send the right signal of hope for human rights and freedom in Tibet and other regions being suppressed by China. "Therefore, we reiterate our appeal to the UN High Commissioner to ensure that the upcoming visit to the oppressed regions in China must be credible, substantive and unfettered including a visit to Tibet," Dolma added. /IANS




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