Geneva – The UN committee called on China to abolish the system of forced boarding schools and to allow the establishment of private Tibetan schools. In addition, it recommended that China take all necessary measures to ensure that Tibetans can fully exercise their right to cultural life, identity, practice and use of the Tibetan language.
The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights conducted the third review of the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) on February 15-16, 2023. During the meeting, the UN committee discussed China's widespread violations in implementing its obligations under the Convention, including in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China.
Tibet Bureau in Geneva participated in the review and submitted reports. It welcomed the concluding observations. Representative Thinlay Chukki has said that the “Chinese Government’s widespread human rights violations in Tibet especially in terms of economic, social and cultural rights have been evidently noted by the UN Committee members. We sincerely hope that the Chinese government will take the corrective actions recommended by the UN Body. The UN body should also undertake timely interventions to ensure that its recommendations are not relegated to documentation but are meaningfully implemented by the Chinese government.”
According to the report of Tibet Bureau Geneva, the experts have expressed concerns about the “resettlement of nomadic herdsmen, particularly Tibetan ones, is carried out in the State party without proper consultation and in most cases without free, prior and informed consent” as well as the small-scale farmers who have lost their “traditional lands and livelihoods owing to poverty alleviation schemes and ecological restoration resettlement measures, and that compensation for the expropriated property is often insufficient to maintain an adequate standard of living.” The UN Committee has recommended China immediately halt all such forced relocation and rehousing programs and undertake meaningful consultation to explore alternative options with full, adequate and timely compensation.
The UN committee expressed concern about poor working conditions, workplace harassment and the lack of labour inspection mechanisms to investigate violations in Tibet. The UN committee recommended that China allocate the necessary resources to labor inspection and independent auditing companies to take action against entities in Tibet.
With regard to cultural and linguistic rights, the UN committee expressed concern about the severe restrictions on the right of Tibetans to participate in cultural life, including the right to use and teach Tibetan language, history and culture. In addition, it highlighted the closure of Tibetan language schools, followed by a "large-scale campaign to eradicate Tibetan culture and language" through the State party's "policy of assimilation, known as Sinicization, including the boarding school system imposed on Tibetan children.
As a result, the UN committee called on China to abolish the forced boarding system and to allow the establishment of private Tibetan schools. In addition, it recommended that China take all necessary measures to ensure that Tibetans can fully exercise their right to cultural life, identity, practice and use of the Tibetan language.
Concerning freedom of religion, the UN committee expressed concern about the increasingly strict regulation of religious practices and the systematic and massive destruction of religious sites, including monasteries, in Tibet. The committee recommended that China "take adequate measures to protect cultural diversity and the cultural practices and heritage" of Tibetans, "including the protection and restoration of religious sites.