Severe human rights restrictions in Tibet spark high level concern from United Nations rights experts

Monday, 27 February 2017

Severe human rights restrictions in Tibet spark high level concern from UN rights experts; China must account for mass eviction of Tibetan monks and nuns from highly respected Buddhist institute Larung Gar

27 February 2017: A group of six independent United Nations human rights experts [1] have expressed their “deep concern” about the serious cultural and religious repression in Tibet directly to the People’s Republic of China. [2] The experts cited a wide range of specific allegations in their letter concerning the mass eviction of Tibetan monks and nuns and the demolition of their homes, which have been taking place at the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in eastern Tibet. [3] These actions by the Chinese government are seen by the group of UN experts to violate international human rights laws and “seem to be concerted attacks on tangible and intangible cultural heritage, which constitute serious violations of cultural rights of current and future generations.”
The detailed communication was issued privately to the People’s Republic of China in November 2016 after news emerged of the dramatic level of destruction being carried out by the Chinese authorities at Larung Gar where, since June 2016, at least 6,700 monks and nuns have been evicted from their homes, and recent reports suggest that further demolitions of monastic homes are restarting shortly. [4]
The situation at Larung Gar is indicative of a far wider pattern of interference by the Chinese government in Tibet’s religious affairs that is in direct contravention of the Chinese Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, both of which guarantee freedom of religious belief, with no discrimination or compulsion. Tibet campaigners and analysts see these incidents as emblematic of an escalation in state-perpetrated religious and cultural rights violations in Tibet, which requires international attention.
“Tibetans are suffering greatly due to China’s harsh and erroneous policies,” said Iona Liddell of Tibet Justice Center and joint coordinator of the Tibet Advocacy Coalition. [5] She added “The concern shown by these independent UN experts highlights just how serious the situation is at Larung Gar and Tibet at large, and that this is a problem warranting global attention.”
“We welcome this strong intervention and call on governments around the world to take action on these key human rights experts’ concerns and urge they raise this situation as a matter of urgency with China, before more inhumane damage is done” added Urgyen Wangchuk, Students for a Free Tibet.
“This statement brings into sharp focus the sheer scale and range of China’s devastation at Larung Gar,”  commented Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren of Free Tibet. “Six UN experts, each a specialist in their field, have identified a vast array of human rights violations that cannot be downplayed or ignored. It is now up to governments to act on these findings. They must demand that China bring this destruction to an immediate halt”
“With today’s geopolitical scenario, joint and strategic multilateral action at the UN is one of the most effective ways to bring China to account. We urge that governments raise concern about Larung Gar and other state-perpetrated violations of cultural and religious rights in Tibet as a matter of urgency with China,” said Tenzin Jigdal, International Tibet Network.
The UN experts also questioned the Chinese government about the use of excessive force against, and the arbitrary arrest and detention of, Tibetan protesters who peacefully demonstrated in June 2016 against an open-air mining project in Amchok, in Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe) county, Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu Province (in the Tibetan area of Amdo). Armed Chinese police beat and detained a number of Tibetan demonstrators; six protest leaders were severely beaten and subsequently hospitalized. [6]


For further information or comment, contact Free Tibet Campaigns and Communications Manager John Jones:

T: +44 (0)207 324 4605

or Free Tibet's Director, Eleanor-Byrne Rosengren

T: +44 (0)207 324 4605

1. The UN Experts who issued the Communication are:
Karima Bennoune Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights;
John H. Knox Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment;
Maina Kiai Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association;
Leilani Farha Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context;
Rita Izsák-Ndiaye Special Rapporteur on minority issues;
Ahmed Shaheed Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.
3. Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in Tibet; one of the largest and most respected Buddhist institutions in the world, and until recently home to at least 10,000 monks, nuns and visiting students.
4. Radio Free Asia report, 23 January 2017
5. Tibet Advocacy Coalition is a project established in 2013 by International Tibet Network, Tibet Justice Center and Students for a Free Tibet to develop coordinated strategies, monitoring tools, and reports to highlight the situation in Tibet at the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Coalition’s core members are:
Tibet Justice Center (, Students for a Free Tibet ( and Tibetan Youth Association Europe  ( who work together with support and advice from International Tibet Network (, a coalition of over 180 global Tibet organisations, campaigning for an end to human rights violations in Tibet. See
6. Report by International Campaign for Tibet, 8 June 2016: ‘Tibetan protest leaders hospitalized as Chinese police suppress demonstrations in Amchok’ -
Western Europe
Aide aux Refugies Tibetains
Association Dorje
Association Drôme Ardèche-Tibet
Associazione Italia -Tibet
Autodetermination - Tibet 09/31
Briancon05 Urgence Tibet
Caisse d’Aide aux Prisonniers Tibetains
Casa del Tibet – Spain
Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT)
Comite de Soutien au Peuple Tibetain (Les Lilas)
Corse – Tibet
Eco-Tibet France
EcoTibet Ireland
France Tibet
Free Tibet
Groupe Non-Violent Louis Lecoin, France
Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete, Portugal
International Society of Human Rights, Munich Chapter
Jamtse Thundel Association
La Porte du Tibet, Geneva
Les Amis du Tibet – Belgium
Les Amis du Tibet Luxembourg
Lions Des Neiges Mont Blanc, France
Lungta Association Belgium
Maison des Himalayas
Maison du Tibet – Tibet Info
Nos Amis de l’Himalaya
Objectif Tibet
Passeport Tibetain
Phagma Drolma-Arya Tara
Reseau International des Femmes pour le Tibet
Save Tibet, Austria
Society for Threatened Peoples International
Students for a Free Tibet France
Students for a Free Tibet UK
Tashi Delek Bordeaux
Tibet 59 / 62
Tibet Initiative Deutschland
Tibets Kinder im Exile V.
Tibet Liberte Solidarite
Tibet Libertes, France
Tibet Society, U.K.
Tibet Support Group – Ireland
Tibet Support Group – Netherlands
Tibet Unterstutzung Liechtenstein
Tibetan Association of Germany
Tibetan Community Austria
Tibetan Community in Belgium
Tibetan Community in Britain
Tibetan Community in France
Tibetan Community in Italy
Tibetan Community in Ireland
Tibetan Community in Netherlands
Tibetan Community in Spain
Tibetan Community in Switzerland & Liechtenstein
Tibetan Women’s Organisation in Switzerland
Tibetan Youth Association in Europe
Tsowa-Maintenir la Vie, France
Tibetan Community of Italy
Northern Europe
Friends of Tibet in Finland
Swedish Tibet Committee
Students for a Free Tibet Denmark
The Norwegian Tibet Committee
Tibet Support Committee Denmark
Tibetan Community in Denmark
Tibetan Community in Sweden
Tibetan Community in Norway
Central & Eastern Europe
Czechs Support Tibet
Fair Society o.s.
Friends of Tibet Bulgaria
Friends of Tibet Society St. Petersburg, Russia
International Youth Human Rights Group
Save Tibet Foundation
Society for Croatia-Tibet Friendship
Students for a Free Tibet Poland
The Foundation for Civil Society, Russia
Tibet cesky (Tibet in Czech)
Tibet House Moscow
Tibet Support Association – Hungary
Tibet Support Group – Krasnodar Region, Russia
Tibet Support Group – Romania
Tibet Support Group – Sochi Region, Russia
Tibetan Community in Poland
Tibetan Programme of The Other Space Foundation
TSG – Slovenia
Union Latvija Tibetai (Latvia for Tibet )
Zida Cels, Latvia
Africa and Middle East
Action for Tibet - South Africa
Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People
Tibet Support Group Kenya
Tibet Society of South Africa    North America
Association Cognizance Tibet, North Carolina
Bay Area Friends of Tibet
Boston Tibet Network
Canada Tibet Committee
Capital Area Tibetan Association
Committee of 100 for Tibet
Dhokam Chushi Gangdruk
International Tibet Independence Movement
Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association
Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet
Sierra Friends of Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet Canada
The Tibetan Alliance of Chicago
Tibet Action
Tibet Committee of Fairbanks
Tibet Justice Center
Tibetan Community of Boston
Tibetan Association of Ithaca
Tibetan Association of Northern California
Tibetan Association of Philadelphia
Tibetan Association of Santa Fe
Tibetan Association of Southern California
Tibetan Cultural Association – Quebec
Tibet Oral History Project
Toronto Tibet Youth Congress
United Nations for a Free Tibet (UNFFT)
U.S. Tibet Committee
Western Colorado Friends of Tibet
Wisconsin Tibetan Association
Central and South America
Amigos del Tibet, Chile
Amigos del Tibet, El Salvador
Asociación Cultural Peruano Tibetana
Asociación Cultural Tibetano – Costarricense
Casa Tibet Mexico
Centro De Cultura Tibetana – Brazil
Centro Cultural Colombo Tibetano
Grupo Pro-Cultura Tibetana, Chile
Le Club Francais – Paraguay
Rangzen: Movimento Free Tibete Natal
Tibet Mx – Mexico
Tibet Group-Panama
Tíbet Patria Libre, Uruguay
Fundación Pro Tibet – Argentina
Friends of Tibet in Costa Rica
World League for Freedom and Democracy
Anterrashtriya Bharat – Tibbet Sahyog Samiti
Bharrat Tibbat Sahyog Manch, India
Circle of Friends, Philippines
Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India
Foundation for Universal Responsibility of HH the Dalai Lama
Himalayan Committee for Action on Tibet
India Tibet Friendship Society
Japan Association of Monks for Tibet (Super Sangha)
Japan Committee of 100 for Tibet
Lung-Ta Project
Mahatma Gandhi Tibet Freedom Movement
National Campaign for Tibetan Support, India
National Democratic Party of Tibet
Ns3 Rigpa Community Builder’s Foundation
Roof of the World Foundation, Indonesia
Students for a Free Tibet Japan
Students for a Free Tibet India
Taiwan Friends of Tibet
Tibbat Desh Patrika
Tibet Lives, India
Tibet Philippines Support Network
Tibet Solidarity Forum, Bangladesh
Tibet Support Group Kiku, Japan
Tibet Support Network Japan
Tibetan Student Association, Madras
Tibetan Rights and Freedom Committee
Tibetan Women’s Association (Central)
Tibetan Youth Congress
World Tibet Day Foundation
Youth Liberation Front of Tibet, Mongolia and Turkestan
Australia Tibet Council
Friends of Tibet New Zealand
Students for a Free Tibet New Zealand
Tibet Action Group of Western Australia
Tibet Support Group Adelaide
Tibetan Community of Australia (Victoria)
Tibetan Women’s Association and Friends Australia
Sakya Trinley Ling
Australian Tibet House