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China faces criticism at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva

June 27, 2016

Tibet Bureau, Geneva, June 22, 2016 – At the 32nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council which took place in Geneva last week, China once again faced severe criticism for failing to meet international human rights standards and for narrowing the space for civil society by adopting new laws on foreign NGOs and national security.

In delivering his “Item 4” (opening) statement to the UNHRC, Mr. Keith Harpar, Ambassador and US Permanent Representative to Human Rights Council said “We are also deeply concerned that China’s new Law on the Management of Foreign NGO Activities will further narrow space for civil society and about excessive government controls on religious practices, especially those affecting Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, and Christians.

The European Union also expressed concern about China’s human rights record saying that “In China, ongoing detention and harassment of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, labour rights defenders and their families remains a major concern…… The recent adoption of the national security packages including the counter terrorist law further raises serious questions about China’s respect for its international human rights obligations.”

The statement further says that the EU expects China to implement the UPR recommendations it accepted including ensuring an enabling environment for civil society including foreign NGOs. The EU also urged China to respect cultural diversity and freedom of religion or belief especially in Tibet and Xinjiang.

Germany aligned itself with the EU statement saying “Germany remains deeply concerned about the ongoing human rights violation throughout China in particularly in Xinjiang and Tibet.”

Switzerland stated its concern about restrictions on freedom of religion, expression and freedom of movement for national minorities particularly Tibetans and Uyghurs and it called upon China to guarantee fundamental rights of all individual including members of ethnic minorities.

France reiterated similar concerns and called upon China to undertake dialogue with officials in order to resolve the deep underlying causes of tension in Tibet and in Xinjiang.

Canada stated that it remains concerned about the regulation of foreign NGOs in China which undermines the intrinsic value of civil society in driving innovation, promoting stability and advancing human rights. Canada called upon China to bring its legal framework into compliance with international human rights norms and standards in order to ensure an enabling environment for civil society to flourish.

The Tibet Bureau representative, Dawa Tsultrim, delivered an oral statement on June 23 on behalf of the Society for Threatened People (NGO under consultative status with ECOSOC).

(edited by WTN editors)
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