Accessibility links

Tibetan Groups Urgently Appeal for UN Intervention

  • Lisa Schlein

Tibetan groups are calling for urgent intervention in Tibet by U.N. human rights bodies. They appealed to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Representatives of several Tibetan groups in exile say tensions remain high in Tibet. The groups say China has responded to the 50th anniversary of the occupation of the country with a military crackdown that has increased the climate of fear and intimidation faced by the Tibetan people.

President of the Geneva-based Tibetan U.N. Advocacy group, Ngawang Choepel, likens Tibet to a huge detention center.

"As the Dalai Lama said, it is like a death sentence has been passed upon the Tibetan people. Given these alarming developments and given the history of over 50 years of human rights violations by the Chinese authorities in Tibet, what we are asking today is for a high-level U.N. engagement with the Chinese authorities to stop these brutal crackdowns against the Tibetan people," said Choepel.

At the current session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, a number of leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have presented reports on the deplorable human rights situation in Tibet.

Choepal says he is pleased by the amount of evidence presented in these reports of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, torture, and enforced disappearances. But, he adds, he is disappointed by the reports presented by several U.N. rights groups.

"For example, the report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has not highlighted the massive arbitrary detentions which took place in Tibet ... Now concerning the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances, again my own NGO submitted cases. But, this year, very, very little attention has been paid. And, we must not forget the case of the Panchan Lama of Tibet. His disappearance remains an outstanding case before the Working Group," said Choepel.

Twelve years ago, the 11th Panchan Lama, then six years old, disappeared after the Dalai Lama nominated him to this position. He and his family have not been seen since. The Chinese authorities say they are well and do not want to be disturbed.

The Tibetan groups are asking the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay to lead a high-level inquiry into the situation of Tibetans. But, the prospects are not promising. They say requests to meet with the High Commissioner have gone unanswered.