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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Statement on Tibet at the Human Rights Council

September 26, 2010

Oral statement during the general debate
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
September 24, 2010

Human Rights Watch is concerned about the
situation of the Tibetan minority nationality in
the People’s Republic of China as they continue
to be the target of systematic governmental
repression. The Chinese government continues to
drastically restrict access to the Tibetan areas
of China aside from a handful of
closely-supervised government-organized tours for
selected international media or foreign diplomats.

In a new report issued on July 2010, Human Rights
Watch documented the widespread abuses committed
by Chinese security forces in suppressing the
Spring 2008 wave of Tibetan protests. Human
Rights Watch does not dispute that the Chinese
government has the duty to maintain public order
and prosecute violent protesters, and that a
number of incidents in 2008 involved violence or
had the potential to devolve into violence.  Yet
the report also found that Chinese security
forces had used disproportionate force and acted
with deliberate brutality during and after the protests.

In addition, the report showed that officials in
Tibet have yet to account for hundreds of
detainees arrested in the wake of the unrest, and
that the highly politicized judicial system
continues to preclude any possibility of
protesters being judged fairly. More than two
years after the protests, disappearances,
wrongful convictions and imprisonment,
persecution of families, and the targeting of
Tibetans suspected of sympathizing with the protest movement continue unabated.

China must release all detainees that have not
been charged or who have been detained for
exercising their freedom of expression. China
must release accurate information about those
killed and injured by security forces and hold
accountable, in a manner consistent with
international human rights law, those responsible
for using excessive use of force against unarmed protesters.

Mr. President, in September 2009, the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Navanethem Pillay, identified “discrimination and
the failure to protect minority rights” as
“underlying causes” behind the protests in Tibet.
Despite repeated calls over the past two years
the Chinese government has not allowed the High
Commissioner or special rapporteurs to visit the region.

In fact China has not agreed to a vast majority
of Special Procedures requests to visit the
country. Requests from the Special Rapporteurs or
experts on freedom of expression, toxic waste,
health and human rights, extrajudicial
executions, extreme poverty, human rights
defenders, the right to adequate housing,
minority issues and access to safe drinking water
and sanitation are all pending. An agreed visit
for the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion
has been pending since 2004 and we have yet to
see the whether the Special Rapporteur on right
to food will actually be able to visit the
country. Human Rights Watch urges the Human
Rights Council to call on the Chinese government
to allow such visits to take place as a matter of
urgency. Mr. President, at this session the High
Commissioner said that the curtailment of civil
society’s scope of action in countries such as
China was disturbing. China’s efforts to suppress
human rights defenders voices even at this
council is a sad sign of its intransigence. The
Human Rights Council should call on China to
abide by its international human rights
obligations and respect human rights defenders’
right to work freely and safely for the protection of human rights in China.
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