The 53rd UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, from June 19 to July 14, 2023. (Photo: UN/Violaine Martin)

International
Tools
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Geneva – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, the USA and other 64 countries raised the issue of China's human rights violations in Tibet, Chinese colonial boarding schools in Tibet, the persecution of human rights defenders and the mistreatment of Tibetan women in Tibet at the 53rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to the Tibet Bureau-Geneva, at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, from June 19 to July 14, 2023. The United Nations High Commissioner, Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and 65 other countries, including the United States, spoke of the Chinese government's continuing human rights violations in Tibet, and expressed their concern for the fundamental rights of Tibetans in Tibet.

In the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' global update, in reference to China, the High Commissioner highlighted treaty body findings on China's rights violations, including "assimilation policies that undermine the identity" of the Tibetan people. The High Commissioner also informed the Council that the Office of the High Commissioner is "seeking further engagement" with China, including the importance of "establishing" the presence of the UN Human Rights Office for the "first time" in China. In addition, the High Commissioner called on China to "seek the expertise of Special Procedures mandate-holders".

After the presentation of the High Commissioner's global update, UN member states, including Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the UK, raised the issue of Tibet in their respective statements.

While welcoming the proposal by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish the presence of the UN Human Rights Office in China. The Czech Republic urged China to "respect" its international obligations and protect the universal human rights of all peoples, in particular by putting an end to the serious and systematic violations of human rights that continue in Tibet. Similarly, the UK has urged China to "respect" its international obligations and protect the universal human rights of all peoples, including by ending the serious and systematic violations of human rights in Tibet.

Switzerland, Sweden and Germany also expressed their "deep concern" at the human rights situation in Tibet, and raised a number of issues, including the persecution of human rights defenders. Echoing the conclusions of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on human rights violations in China, Australia expressed concern at the mistreatment of Tibetan women in Tibet.

The United States delivered a joint statement on behalf of the 65 member states of the United Nations, drawing attention to deplorable human rights violations committed by the state "against persons belonging to religious, linguistic, national and ethnic minorities, often for the stated purpose of mitigating a perceived security threat". The joint statement cites "a range of rights violations, including laws and policies that specifically restrict and suppress practices that are part of the identity and cultural life of people belonging to minorities: authorities have destroyed cultural heritage sites, cemeteries and places of worship; they suppress languages; they forcibly assimilate children into the education system; they impose severe restrictions on movement; they limit access to livelihoods, education and health care."

In addition, during an interactive dialogue on specific thematic issues, the United States commended the UN Special Rapporteur on Education for bringing attention to Chinese government-run boarding schools in Tibet. "Chinese government-run boarding schools in Tibet have forcibly separated nearly a million Tibetan children from their families and raise "serious human rights concerns", the US said.