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China rejects most UPR recommendations on Tibet but agrees to High Commissioner’s visit to Tibet

March 24, 2014

March 17, 2014 - China has responded to the United Nations review of its human rights record by rejecting most of the recommendations made specifically on Tibet by other member states of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Of seven recommendations specifically mentioning Tibet, China accepted only one. China rejected five, and said it had already implemented another. China accepted the recommendation by Switzerland to facilitate the visits of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and special rapporteurs, to Tibet.

Kai Müller, Executive Director of International Campaign for Tibet-Germany, said: “Member states should now hold China accountable as a member of the Human Rights Council and press the leadership to ensure that the proposed visits happen. The High Commissioner must be able to engage with Tibetan and Chinese representatives of civil society in order to gain a full insight into human rights conditions in Tibet. While the prospect of a visit is a step in the right direction, it does not in itself constitute progress in improving human rights. A more systematic and deepening crackdown is being implemented in Tibet under the leadership of Xi Jinping. China has repeated the same denials and attempted the same obfuscation of the process as it did during its last Universal Periodic Review in Geneva in 2009.”

Notably, China did not accept five other recommendations made by member states, including one by New Zealand that asked for the dialogue process between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and China to resume. Mr. Müller said: “China countered this recommendation with its usual rhetoric, insisting that the Dalai Lama is still seeking Tibetan independence, when it is consistently reiterated by the international community that he is instead calling for a genuine autonomy and that the rights of Tibetans to be protected in accordance with China’s constitution and laws.”

China also said that the United States’ recommendation to protect the rights of ethnic minority groups, including Tibetans, Uighurs, and Mongolians, in accordance with China’s Constitution and international human rights commitments, is already being implemented and was, therefore, accepted.

The UNHRC will adopt China’s UPR Working Group report on 19 March. As a part of this exercise China has to inform the Council which recommendations made by member states, it will accept and which it will not accept to improve human rights in China for the next four years.

The seven recommendations on Tibet and China’s responses thereto can be found here. China’s response to all the recommendations made at the UPR in October 2013 could be found here.

On Wednesday, 19 March, there will be a one-hour segment at the Council to adopt the Working Group Report on China’s UPR. Both governments and non-governmental organizations can speak at this segment. Each UN member state undergoes the UPR process every four years. During this process, states’ human rights records are reviewed while other member states give recommendations on how the state under review can improve its human rights environment. The reviewed state can accept or reject these recommendations. This is China’s second UPR. China’s next UPR will be in 2018.

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