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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Rights groups highlight human rights situation in Tibet at UNHRC

June 19, 2009

Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Geneva: Leading human rights groups and Tibetan representatives attending the 11th session of the UN Human Rights Council on 11 June in Geneva raised a series of issues concerning Tibet prior to the Council's adoption of the Universal Periodic Review process on China.
China had rejected 50 recommendations made by the Council, which includes denying access to Tibetan areas for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other United Nations bodies, diplomats and the international media.
Speaking on behalf of Society for Threatened Peoples and Reporters without Borders – International, Mr Tenzin Samphel Kayta said “This contradicted the pledges and commitments China made to the Human Rights Council in February 2009 to conduct constructive dialogues with UN treaty bodies, and to cooperate with UN human rights Special Procedures.”
Kayta further said that given the persistent patterns of gross and systematic violations of human rights suffered by the Tibetan people, full access must be given to UN, diplomats, parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations and the media, without restrictions to ascertain ground realities on the Tibetan plateau.
He urged the Chinese government to positively respond to UN’s September 2006 letter seeking dates for a follow-up by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief in relation to the invitation extended in 2004.
In a joint statement with Interfaith International and Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network, the representative from Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples, Gianfranco Fattorini supported New Zealand's call for the resumption of dialogue between the Chinese Government and the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The organizations strongly regretted that the Chinese government had rejected the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People, the important recommendation made by Tibetans to help resolve the long-standing Sino-Tibetan problem..
“Resumption of dialogue between the two sides would be welcomed by the international community, since such contacts and eventual negotiation could result in a sustainable solution that would satisfy both the parties,” Gianfranco Fattorini added.
The delegates - Dekyi Dolkar from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Julie de Rivero from Human Rights Watch - expressed their deep concern over the rejection of 50 recommendations by China, including almost all those that sought to improve the human rights situation of the Tibetan people.
A parallel event was organised jointly by Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples and Society for Threatened Peoples to discuss on human rights situation in China particularly focusing on Tibet. The event was attended by over 50 international NGOs including four Chinese NGOs.
The panelists were Mr. Eric Sottas, Secretary General of World Organization against Torture, Mr. Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ms. Gyaltsen Dolkar, former political prisoner.
Mr. Sottas expressed his concern over appalling human rights situation in Tibet. He said that his organisation had documented cases of Tibetan who underwent torture under hands of Chinese officials. He further said that cases were brought to attention of Chinese authorities and UN relevant bodies for investigation.
Mr. Chhoekyapa said the situation inside Tibet is now like what His Holiness the Dalai Lama called “hell on earth”.
A documentary titled “China's brutality on Tibet exposed”, which contains recent testimonies of the protesters who recently escaped from Tibet, was screened.
Speaking on the film, Mr Chhoekyapa said the Chinese government rejected this film and accused the Tibetan government in Exile of fabricating it. He reasserted that the footages were genuine and urged all participants especially representatives of the Chinese NGOs to investigate by themselves without listening to either parties.
He told the Chinese participants that he would be happy to arrange for such an investigation if they are willing to do so.
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