Concerns mount for new UN Human Rights Council as China continues to torture Tibetan political prisoner
[London] According to a credible report sourced from inside Tibet, political prisoner, Jigme Gyatso (1), has been held in isolation and has been maltreated since meeting the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Dr Manfred Nowak, in November 2005 (2). During the meeting on 28 November 2005 Jigme Gyatso told the Rapporteur that conditions at Chushur prison, to which he had recently been moved, were much worse than those at Drapchi prison in Lhasa, itself notorious for routinely abusing and torturing political prisoners. The reports indicate that Jigme Gyatso was hospitalized earlier this year for several weeks as a result of severe beatings and is now unable to walk properly due to a leg injury.
"Following his visit to China and Tibet in 2005, Dr Nowak deliberately raised the case of Jigme Gyatso in his report and called for his release, and yet China has continued to exploit weaknesses within UN mechanisms for protecting human rights, continuing to abuse Jigme Gyatso with impunity," said Matt Whitticase of Free Tibet Campaign. "The new Human Rights Council was supposed to enhance the power of the UN not only to make recommendations but, crucially, to monitor more effectively the behaviour of member states and hold states accountable to their binding obligations where necessary. The Council must immediately toughen its monitoring and enforcement procedures with regard to member states so that cases of gross human rights abuses, such as those suffered by Jigme Gyatso, can be dealt with promptly and effectively," he continued.
Free Tibet Campaign discussed the case of Jigme Gyatso with Dr Nowak on 7 December following Dr Nowak's keynote address on Human Rights at the London School of Economics. Dr Nowak expressed his shock at the reports of Jigme Gyatso's maltreatment and has requested that the report be forwarded to his office for inclusion into his follow-up report on China to be submitted to the Human Rights Council on December 15 this year. He also acknowledged his concern that the reformed Human Rights Council had not been invested with sufficient power to tackle effectively member states such as China which continue both to systematically violate human rights internally and use their influence within the newly created Council to block effective monitoring elsewhere.
Contact: Office 020 7324 4605, Matt Whitticase (07904 063 746), Ya'el Weisz-Rind (07733 393 773)
Notes to Editor:
(1) Jigme Gyatso was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1996 for 'counter-revolution' and 'inciting splittism'. The sentence was extended in 2004 for three years, according to official sources.
(2) Dr Nowak concluded in his report on his visit to China and Tibet of 2005 that torture remained "widespread" in China and Tibet. Click here to view the full report.