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UN experts call on China to release Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk

February 26, 2018

Central Tibetan Administration, February 22, 2018 - A group of UN human rights experts* expressed concern over incarcerated Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk and called on China to release him “immediately”.

In the public statement issued today, the group of UN human rights experts expressed concern over labelling “inciting separatism” against Tashi Wangchuk, who was featured in a documentary film calling for “linguistic and cultural rights in Tibet”. The experts called on China to “drop” all the allegations against his comments featured “in an article and video documentary in the New York Times”.

The experts condemned the Chinese authorities for detaining Tashi Wangchuk and “criminalization of his freedom of expression as well as his right to stand and speak up for what he perceives as human rights violations in his region and country”.

The experts further notified the Chinese authorities to respect and uphold the “right of persons belonging to minorities to use and promote their own culture and languages without restrictions, and without fear of reprisals or criminalization”.

In November 2017, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted an opinion concerning Tashi Wangchuk during its 80th session in Geneva. The Working Group urged China “to take the steps necessary to remedy the situation of Mr Wangchuk without delay and bring it into conformity with the relevant international norms, including those set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

In February 2017, a group of five UN Special Rapporteurs expressed concern over the “arrest, initial incommunicado detention and continued detention” of Tashi Wangchuk. The Rapporteurs further expressed concern over the “separatist charges” to “criminalize” Tashi Wangchuk for exercising freedom of expression and “defense of cultural rights”.

A two-member delegation from the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) of the Central Tibetan Administration consisting of Secretary Sonam Norbu Dagpo and Kalden Tsomo, head of UN and Human Rights Desk, is currently in Geneva for a week-long advocacy that began on Monday, 19 February 2018.

*Experts who issued public statements are Ms. E. Tendayi Achiume, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Ms. Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Mr. Jose Antonio Guevara Bermudez, Chair- Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression.

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