GENEVA: China must be held accountable to the pledges it made to the UN Human Rights Council, said Kalon Dicki Chhoyang in her address to the 5th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. The conference was organised by Geneva based UN Watch and an international coalition of 20 NGOs.
Kalon Dicki Chhoyang called on China to honour it pledges to uphold the highest standard of cooperation with UN Human Rights Council and its mechanism. China’s human rights record will once again be scrutinised by the UN Universal Periodic Review in October 2013. The last one was in 2009.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay had made an unprecedented strong-worded statement on the tragic situation in Tibet on 2 November 2012. She said that there are 12 outstanding requests for official visits to China by UN Special Rapporteurs on various human rights issues, including one by the Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of religion and belief which the Chinese agreed in 2004 but still not materialised.
Ms Pillay called on China to “promptly address the longstanding grievances that have led to an alarming escalation in desperate forms of protest, including self-immolations, in Tibetan areas and also to provide access to independent monitors and media to assess the actual conditions in the Tibetan region.”
Kalon Dicki Chhoyang said 102 Tibetans had self-immolated in Tibet since February 2009, of which 86 had died. All have called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom in Tibet. “What we hear are numbers, but behind each number there are really people like you and me,” she said.
She read a short message left behind by Nangdrol, an 18-year-old boy, who self-immolated on 19 February 2012 and died. He wrote, “We are unable to remain under these draconian laws, unable to tolerate this torment that does not leave scar, because the pain of not enjoying any basic human rights is far greater than the pain of self-immolation.”
The reasons for these self-immolations in Tibet, Kalon Dicki Chhoyang said, are China’s political repression, economic marginalisation, environmental destruction and cultural assimilation. Early as January 2012, the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala has repeatedly urged Tibetans not to take drastic act of self-immolation.
The self-immolations by the new generation of Tibetans born under Chinese rule “are sending an unequivocal message to the world about the gravity of the situation in Tibet.”
China’s response has been further repression and criminalisation against anyone suspected to have links to a self-immolation. Arresting anyone sending news of the self-immolation.
Furthermore, there has been news blackout. The Chinese authorities in eastern Tibet have confiscated all the satellite dishes to prevent incoming news from world. No journalists are allowed into Tibet.
Mr Darius Rochebin, the news anchor of RTS TV, interviewed Kalon Dicki Chhoyang during their prime time evening news. She spoke about the self-immolation in Tibet and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s forthcoming visit to Switzerland in April. (View interview)
Responding to a question on Free Trade Agreement negotiations between China and Switzerland, Kalon Dicki Chhoyang said, “We are not opposed for trade agreements but oppose compromise on human rights and democracy for trade gains.”