(TibetanReview.net, May20’21) – The European Union and the Belgian government have assured their respective parliaments that they were paying close attention to the human rights situation in Tibet and that the matter was being raised with Beijing at every opportune moment, said the Office of Tibet, Brussels, May 20.
Responding to a parliamentary query on a series of deaths in Tibet under Chinese rule either in police custody or shortly after release as a result of custodial torture, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell Fontelles, has condemned the use of torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by state and non-state actors, wherever it takes place and in whatever form.
Fontelles has further said the EU “has repeatedly called on China to comply with its obligations under national and international law to respect and protect human rights”, including the rights of Tibetans.
He has also referred to a previous EU statement that called for “the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently imprisoned for exercising their fundamental rights, as well as for fair trial and due process, and decent treatment, decent treatment, free from torture and ill treatment of those in detention.”
The question was tabled by 12 MEPs belonging to the Tibet Interest Group (TIG) of the European Parliament. Their query especially raised the cases of the recently reported deaths of monk Choekyi, mother of three Lhamo, teenaged monk Tenzin Nyima, and tour guide Kunchok Jinpa.
Earlier, on Apr 27, Belgium’s Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès said her country was following the situation of human rights in China with the utmost attention and that it shared the concern of the international community about forced labour and conditions in which people were being held in Tibet. She has said Belgium raised the issue of human rights in Tibet both bilaterally and multilaterally at the national and at the EU level.
The minister’s response had come during an exchange in the Federal Parliament when MP Mr Samuel Cogolati asked the Belgian government whether it was concerned by China’s forced labour programmes in Tibet and whether Belgium had condemned the torture and deaths of Tibetans in detention.