News / Asia

    UN Rights Chief Urges China to Address Tibetans' Grievances

    This still image allegedly shows the self-immolation of an individual along a street in Dawu, Ganzi prefecture in Sichuan province.This still image allegedly shows the self-immolation of an individual along a street in Dawu, Ganzi prefecture in Sichuan province.
    x
    This still image allegedly shows the self-immolation of an individual along a street in Dawu, Ganzi prefecture in Sichuan province.
    This still image allegedly shows the self-immolation of an individual along a street in Dawu, Ganzi prefecture in Sichuan province.
    Lisa Schlein
    United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay is urging China to address the long-standing grievances that are prompting an alarming escalation of self-immolations by Tibetans. She says Tibetans are resorting to these desperate forms of protest because they see no other way out of their dilemma.

    U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says this wave of self-immolations must stop. She says she is disturbed by the continuing allegations of violence against Tibetans, who are seeking to exercise their fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, association and religion.  

    Pillay expresses concern at reports of detentions and disappearances, of excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and curbs on the cultural rights of Tibetans. Her spokesman, Rupert Colville, says the High Commissioner is calling for the release of all people detained merely for exercising their universal rights.  

    "She is also appealing to Tibetans to refrain from resorting to extreme forms of protest, such as self-immolation, and urging community and religious leaders to use their influence to help stop this tragic loss of life," said Colville.  "She fully recognizes Tibetans' intense sense of frustration and despair, which has led them to resort to such extreme means, but there are other ways to make those feelings clear. It is important that the government also recognizes this, and permits Tibetans to express their feelings without fear of retribution."    

    The High Commissioner's appeal to the Chinese authorities comes just days ahead of the Peoples' Congress, a once-in-a-decade transition to power in China. Colville denies any linkage.  

    Colville says Pillay is talking about this issue now because of the sharp increase in self-immolations, which indicates underlying frustrations and real despair.

    "It is a very extreme act that is taking place," said Colville.  "Some 60 self-immolations have occurred just since March this year. And, at least seven occurred in the past two weeks alone, since 20th October. They are an illustration of how serious the situation is and we do not see any progress in dealing with the underlying problem facing Tibetans both in Tibet and in other areas because quite a few self-immolations have been in Tibetan areas outside Tibet itself."  

    Over the past few years, Tibetans periodically have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule in Tibet. They have demanded freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile to Tibet.

    In her appeal, High Commissioner Pillay is also urging the Chinese government to allow independent and impartial monitors to visit and assess the actual conditions on the ground, and to lift restrictions on media access to the region.  

    Colville notes Pillay has repeatedly asked to visit China herself. He says discussions on a visit have been ongoing for some time, but no fixed date so far has been set.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Rick Lambert from: Canada
    December 01, 2012 1:30 AM
    I have decided to not buy goods from China. If others followed we could vote with our $$. It worked for Shell.

    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    November 09, 2012 12:37 PM
    This criticism by the UN Human Rights Chief is welcome but very late in coming. Since 2008 the human rights situation in Tibet has deteriorated rapidly. There have been over 60 self-immolations by Tibetans since 2009. Yet the first comment on this tragedy by the UN is late 2012? The UN Human Rights Council must condemn China for its oppression of the Tibetan people & the Security Council should impose sanctions on the PRC.

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    November 02, 2012 7:15 PM
    The destruction of Tibetan culture by China is recognized by permiting ocassional visits of Dalai Lama from India by the US and EU, and nothing more. Tibetans and Buddhists are frustrated by the neglect of their cause by other countries, including the US, EU and UN who are supposed to be the champions of human rights. The Tibetans and the Buddhists cannot fight against the military power of China. But the Buddhists can sacrifice by self immolation for Tibet, just like Jesus Christ sacrificed for others, Mahatma Gandhi for India and Martin Luther King for the African Americans.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.