(TibetanReview.net, Sep29’22) – UN Member States on Sep 26 raised concern over China’s systematic repression in Tibet at the ongoing 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, said the Central Tibetan Administration on its tibet.net website Sep 29. China, on the other hand, maintained on its globaltimes.cn and the Xinhua news agency websites Sep 27 that on the same day nearly 70 countries called on other countries to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs on Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Xizang (Tibet) regions, objecting to any discussion of human rights in these territories under Chinese rule.
The tibet.net report said states including the United States, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Lithuania and the European Union, on behalf of 27 member states, expressed concern over the situation in Tibet, while bringing the spotlight on human rights violations by China.
The United States has expressed concern over “severe repression against Tibetans and their distinct religious, linguistic and cultural identity” in Tibet.
The Czech Republic, on behalf of the 27 member states, has said the “latest documentations confirm the seriousness of the human rights situation in China”, including in Tibet. It has urged China to “abide by its obligations under national and international law to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and fundamental freedoms for all”, including in Tibet.
Denmark has spoken of being “deeply concerned” by human rights violations by China, including in Tibet.
Germany and Lithuania were stated to have echoed the same concern over the “disturbing” situation in China, including in Tibet.
Sweden, being “deeply” concerned over the human rights situation in China, including in Tibet, has urged China to “respect international law including human rights, especially the right to freedom of expression and the rights of persons belonging to minorities.”
Switzerland has expressed concern over arrangements of forced labour by China, including in Tibet, referring to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Form of Slavery Mr Tomoya Obokata.
The tibet.net report said Japan, Iceland, Finland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom, along with others also continued to remain concerned over human rights violations by China.
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Meanwhile, the Xinhua report said a joint statement delivered by Pakistan on behalf of 68 States stressed that respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states and non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign states represent the basic norms governing international relations. Moreover, more than 20 countries also made statements to support China’s stance at the Human Rights Council, making the total number that voiced understanding and support for China to nearly 100, said the globaltimes.cn report.
However, the vast majority of these countries have little or no history of interest or concern on, or, indeed, even knowledge of the situation in a territory such as Tibet.
The Xinhua report cited the Joint statement by Pakistan as saying all human rights should be treated with the same emphasis, with sufficient importance attached to economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development in particular.
This is a parroting of China’s contention that these rights are far more important than the rights to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association, religion, personal liberty, minority rights, and the like which are the main focus of the mainly western democratic countries’ criticism of China’s record and for which China had no defence.
Also on Sep 26, the US and other Western counties such as Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden presented a draft proposal to hold a special debate over the human rights situation in Xinjiang region at the council’s next session in early 2023. This, if approved, would mark the first time human rights concerns in China have been formally put on the UN Human Rights Council’s agenda, noted the globaltimes.cn report.
The draft proposal is said to call for comprehensive investigations of the situation in Xinjiang by UN human rights treaty bodies and special rapporteurs, including the Committee against Torture, Committee on Enforced Disappearances and rapporteurs on forced labor in pursuance to the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioners for Human Rights released on Aug 31, 2022.