China to be probed by UN over Free Tibet evidence

19th February 2013

Children’s committee challenges China over shootings, protest, education rights and more

Earlier this month, Tibet Watch’s senior researcher and senior analyst gave evidence to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child about China’s abuses of children in Tibet.

The committee has just published its “List of issues to be taken up” and has demanded answers from China about many of the problems Tibet Watch identified. Those include:

• whether it has investigated self-immolation protests by children in Tibet – including the reasons for what the committee calls these “desperate acts”

• whether it has investigated “excessive force” used against peaceful demonstrations involving children, and their arbitrary arrest and detention in Tibet

• what measures have been taken to reform policies discriminating against religious minorities “such as Tibetans” and “to ensure that they have equal access to health, education and other social services”

• what they are doing to protect freedom of religion for children

• how they are ensuring that Tibetan language rights are respected and Tibetans are involved in decisions about education

• provide information about children subjected to “re-education through labour”.

Severe embarrassment

Members of the Tibet Watch team were invited to Geneva to present oral evidence to the committee following the detailed report that Free Tibet and Tibet Watch submitted to it late last year. The committee is tasked with evaluating whether countries are complying with their undertakings to protect children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The committee’s list of questions is a severe embarrassment for China, which consistently lobbies to discredit evidence provided by Free Tibet and Tibet Watch and to use the UN mechanisms to showcase its “achievements”. Instead, they are now being held to account.

China criticised by UN

Our submission to the Committee Against Torture in 2008 played a major role in the committee's subsequent conclusion that use of torture in Tibet was “widespread” and “routine”.

Last year, evidence contained in a Free Tibet report on food rights in Tibet was presented at a UN Human Rights Council meeting. Our findings were echoed by UN Special Rapporteur.

China must provide answers to all these questions, and the committee will formally consider whether they have breached their obligations at a meeting in September. The committee's list of issues can be viewed on their website (first document in second column)

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