March 23, 2022
UNHRC 49th session.
Switzerland: Several UN member states called upon China to respect the fundamental rights of Tibetan people in Tibet during the ongoing 49th UNHRC regular session, which is currently underway in Geneva.
The delegates from the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, the Kingdom of Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom expressed concerns over the deteriorating situation in Tibet and called upon China to respect the fundamental rights in Tibet. Furthermore, the United States, Finland, Australia, Norway, Ireland and others called China to respect the rights of “ethnic minorities”. The member states further pressed that the High Commissioner’s principal agreement to visit China and other regions must include “meaningful and unfettered” access.
Delivering an oral statement under meeting agenda-4 “Human rights situation which requires council’s attention”, the reiterated “serious concerns” over “widespread violations” by China. With specific reference to the situation in Tibet, the United Kingdom said “the situation in Tibet remains of deep international concern, including new reports of boarding schools being used to further erode cultural, linguistic and religious identity.” Furthermore, the United Kingdom called upon China to allow “journalists to report without fear of arrest, harassment or reprisal”. While echoing the same concerns, Switzerland expressed deep concern about the “lack of progress” in respecting the rights, particularly in Tibet and East Turkestan. Welcoming the High Commissioner’s announcement to visit China and other regions, Switzerland expects “unrestricted access” by China during the High Commissioner’s visit. Similarly, France deplored the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet. And urged China to guarantee “full and unhindered access and that a report (East Turkestan) be published”.
Germany also raised systematic violations of human rights by China in Tibet. And called upon China to “allow unfettered access” to the High Commissioner.
The Kingdom of Netherlands expressed serious concern over the curtailment of civic freedom by China, including in Tibet. Similarly, Swedenexpressed concern over human rights violations by China, including in Tibet. Furthermore, Sweden raised human rights violations by China, targeting “persons belonging to minorities, human rights defenders, media workers and others exercising their freedom of expression.” Denmark expressed deep concern about reports of human rights violations in Tibet. The delegate also called upon China to “ensure unfettered access” for the High Commissioner during the expected visit to China and other regions.
Furthermore, during the High-level Segment of the ongoing HRC session, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic raised concern over severe restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief by China, including in Tibet. The Czech Republic further called upon China to release all human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers detained for exercising their fundamental rights.
Speaking in the second week of the session, UN Advocacy of the Tibet Bureau in Geneva Kalden Tsomo urged the High Commissioner to call upon China to address the underlying grievances of the Tibetan people by entering into a meaningful dialogue. On side of the opening of the ongoing 49th UNHRC session, on 28 February, the Tibetan community of Switzerland & Liechtenstein held a demonstration in front of the UN human rights council’s building and submitted an appeal letter to the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights expressing deep concern over the rapidly deteriorating situation in Tibet and urged the High Commissioner to pay an “urgent attention” on the situation in Tibet. The 49th UNHRC session is convened from 28th February to 01 April 2022.
–Report filed by the Tibet Bureau Geneva