China's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) took place on January 23, 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo:file)

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Geneva — During China's fourth universal periodic review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, 20 countries from around the world, including the USA, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Canada and Japan, highlighted China's serious human rights violations in Tibet. They called on China to respect human rights of Tibetans and abolish the Chinese boarding schools in Tibet, as well as allow unhindered access to UN special rapporteurs and independent experts to evaluate the persistent reports of violations of human rights in Tibet.

China's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) took place on January 23, 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the fourth Universal Periodic Review of China's human rights record between 2018 and 2023. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a five-yearly peer review of the human rights records of UN Member States, under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, which assesses the human rights records and the fulfillment of human rights obligations and commitments of other States, and makes recommendations to the State under review.

At the fourth Universal Periodic Review of China's human rights record, held in the UN hall in Geneva, UN member states examined China's human rights record over the past five years. Among the Member States, 20 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, France, Lithuania, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Ireland, Montenegro, New Zealand, Canada, Denmark and Estonia raised China's violations of freedom of religion, belief and cultural expression, political rights, freedom of assembly, as well as the targeting of human rights defenders, harassment, surveillance and threats against individuals abroad. More than 30 countries, including the above-mentioned states, call on China to allow the Human Rights Council's special procedures and special rapporteurs free and meaningful access, particularly to Xinjiang and Tibet.

Simon Manley, the UK's Permanent Representative to the UN, delivered UK's statement during China's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. He said, “Cease the persecution and arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and Tibetans, and allow genuine freedom of religion or belief and cultural expression without fear of surveillance, torture, forced labour, or sexual violence and cease the restriction of civil society and independent media, end forced repatriations, and stop targeting human rights defenders."

Michèle Taylor, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council delivered US Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of the People’s Republic of China and she said, "We condemn the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang; human rights abuses in Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and across China; erosion of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong; and transnational repression to silence individuals abroad."

The USA Ambassador said, "Release all arbitrarily detained individuals, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, many of whom were named by the UN Working Group and cease harassment, surveillance, and threats against individuals abroad and in China including Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong. She concluded by saying, "Cease discrimination against individuals’ culture, language, religion or belief; end forcible assimilation policies, including boarding schools, in Tibet and Xinjiang."

Tormod C. Endresen, Norway Ambassador to the UN, delivered the Norway's statement at the Universal Periodic Review of the People’s Republic of China. He expressed Norway remains concerned about the human rights situation in Chin and he said, “Allow unhindered access to UN special rapporteurs and independent experts to evaluate the persistent reports of violations of human rights in China, including in Xinjiang and Tibet. Allow freedom of expression in all its forms as mandated by international human rights law and standards. Ensure free, safe, and meaningful social and political participation of marginalized groups and human rights defenders, including LGBT+ persons, and religious groups."

HONSEI Kozo, Ambassador at the Permanent Mission of Japan in Geneva, delivered Japan's statement at the Universal Periodic Review of the China and he said, "Japan is concerned about the human rights situation in China and makes the following recommendations: protect the rights of minorities, including the Tibetans and Uighurs, including their rights to enjoy their cultural and religious practices as recommended by the CESCR."

Netherland’s statement at the Universal Periodic Review of the China stated, “Abolish residential and pre-boarding school system in Tibet and grant access (Tibetan children) to education in the Tibetan language".

HE Lucy Duncan, New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to UN, delivered New Zealand’s statement at the Universal Periodic Review of the China and said," Implement the 2023 recommendations by CESCR and CEDAW on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion by ethnic and religious minorities including ethnic Uyghurs and Tibetans."

Zbigniew Czech, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, delivered Poland’s statement at the Universal Periodic Review of the China and said, “Respect the rights to freedom of religion or belief, opinion, expression, peaceful assembly and culture, including for Tibetans and other minorities".

Anna Jardfelt, the Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN at Geneva, delivered Sweden’s statement at the Universal Periodic Review of the China and said, “Human rights situation in China is serious concerned, regarding restrictions on rights to freedom and expression of persons belong to minorities. Take urgent steps to fully respect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, especially in Tibet.”

Jürg Lauber, the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN in Geneva, delivered the Switzerland's statement at the Universal Periodic Review of the China and said, "the protect Tibetan culture and language in the compulsory education system and to authorize the creation of private Tibetan schools."

Sally Mansfield, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia, to the UN in Geneva, delivered Australian statement at the Universal Periodic Review of China and said, “Australia recommended China to be “consistent with the OHCHR and other treaty body reports on Xinjiang and Tibet, repeal legislation and cease practises which discriminate against Tibetans and Uyghurs on the basis of race or religion. Cease arbitrary detention, coercive labour transfer, and family separation programs, and end restrictions on movement and on rights to enjoy their own culture and language.”

Ambassador Désirée Schweitzer, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN, delivered Austria's statement at the Universal Periodic Review of China and said "Repeal policies to forcibly assimilate Tibetan and Uyghur people culturally, religiously and linguistically. Abolish Chinese-language boarding school systems for Tibetan and Uyghur pupils and ensure their right to education without discrimination, family life and cultural rights."