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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

UNHRC: China Urged to End Harassment of Tibetan Intellectuals and Rights Advocates

September 16, 2010

Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)
September 15, 2010

Dharamshala -- The issues of human rights abuses
perpetrated against the Tibetan intellectuals and
human rights defenders in Tibet have been raised
at the 15th session of the UN Human Rights
Council in Geneva, which opened on 13 September
and is due to last until 1 October.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi
Pillay, stressed the "pressing need for
protection of human rights defenders", pointing
out that "some countries use restrictive measures
and ad hoc laws to curtail and violently attack
peaceful dissidents, human rights advocates,
journalists, lawyers, civil society’s scope of action and social activism."

Ms Pillay strongly urged the UN Human Rights
Council and the international community to
"support squarely and vocally human rights defenders".

A representative of Society for Threatened
Peoples appraised the UNHRC about Karma Samdrup,
a well-known Tibetan businessman, philanthropist
and environmentalist, who is serving a 15-year
jail term on alleged charges of buying stolen
relics in 1998. He is the founder of the
Snowlands Three Rivers Environmental Protection Group.

According to his lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, the charges
were dropped by the Chinese government in 1998
after realising that Karma Samdrup had a license to buy the antiques.

The cause of Samdrup's arrest in January this
year was the Chinese authorities' vendatta
against him for defending his two younger
brothers, Rinchen Samdrup and Chime Namgyal, who
are in jail since August 2009 for accusing a
police official in Chamdo Prefecture of illegal
poaching. "By jumping to his brothers’ defense,
Karma Samdrup apparently angered some powerful
people," The New York Times reported.

Speaking on behalf of Society for Threatened
Peoples, Mr Tenzin Samphel Kayta, informed the
UNHRC of how Karma Samdrup was "severely tortured
by the police during several months of
interrogation and the court's dismissal of his testimony as irrelevant".

Mr Kayta briefed the Council on the debilitated
health condition of Karma Samdrup as described by
her wife as unrecognisable and emaciated. "... I
just didn’t recognise him. How could his tall and
upright body become thin and small? The body that
passed me looked like one of a slim and fragile
college student," Samdrup's wife wrote in a blog.

He also informed the Council that six family
members of Karma Samdrup were arrested, sentenced
and reportedly tortured within a span of one
year. Four of them are undergoing “re-education
through labour” in prison, while the whereabouts of two remain unknown.

Urging the Chinese government to implement the
recommendation put forward by the UNHRC High
Commissioner, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
Defenders and the Committee Against Torture, Mr
Kayta called for an "end to harassment against
human rights defenders and Tibetan intellectuals in Tibet".

The Chinese delegation at the Council used their
oft-repeated tactic to avoid NGOs speak on their
rights record by interrupting Mr Kayta in making his statement.

A US delegate defended the NGOs by saying
"whether delegates agree or not we should hear
NGOs statement as they are accredited to this institute".

Despite the Chinese delegation’s objection, Mr
Kayta managed to complete his statement and was
able to draw more attention from delegates and NGOs participants on the issues.
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