Wednesday 24 July 2013

Reports on Tibetan Human rights

[A series of reports have been published on Tibet in the first six months of 2013 by respected human rights organisations, the US government and Tibet organisations. The reports highlight a variety of issues facing Tibetans, including human rights abuses, religious repression, lack of press freedom and forced resettlement. Below are summaries and links to these reports.

Human & Civil Rights
Freedom House logoJanuary 2013: Freedom House
Freedom in the World 2013

Freedom House, a US-based NGO, classified Tibet amongst the “Worst of the Worst” 
alongside countries such as Eritrea, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Tibet had the lowest possible ratings for both political rights and civil liberties. The report noted that the Chinese government’s “security clampdown... was sustained during 2012 and increasingly extended to Tibetan areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region”. In response to self-immolation protests the authorities “responded with communications blackouts, “patriotic education” campaigns, travel restrictions, and intrusive new controls on monasteries”. Read report

US State Dept logopril 2013: US State Department
Human Rights Report for 2012

The Chinese government was engaging in the “severe repression” of Tibet and that human rights in Tibet had “deteriorated markedly” during 2012. “Under the banner of maintaining social stability, the [Chinese] government engaged in the severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of China’s ethnic Tibetan population, including the freedoms of speech, religion, association and movement.” Download report (Tibet section: pp 83-107) 
Amnesty International logoMay 2013: Amnesty International
Annual Report 2013

The Chinese government maintained a “stranglehold on political activists, human rights defenders and online activists, subjecting many to harassment, intimidation, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance”. In the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Chinese authorities “continued to repress Tibetans’ right to enjoy and promote their own culture as well as their rights to freedom of religion, expression, peaceful association and assembly”. In addition, “socioeconomic discrimination against ethnic Tibetans persisted unchecked”. Read China section

Religious Freedom
USCIRF logoApril 2013: US Commission for International Religious Freedom: Annual Report 2013
Religious freedom conditions in Tibet are “worse now than at any time over the past decade”. According to the report, China is one of the “most egregious violators” of religious freedom in the world, along with countries such as North Korea, Iran and Sudan. Download report (China & Tibet section: pp 29-45) 
 State Dept logoMay 2013: US State Department
International Religious Freedom Report 2012
The Chinese government’s respect for and protection of religious freedom in Tibetan areas “deteriorated markedly” in 2012, with a substantial increase in official interference in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries. “Monasteries were increasingly forbidden to deliver traditional educational and medical services to the people of their communities and official intimidation was used to compel acquiescence and preserve a facade of stability.” Read Tibet section

Creative Freedom
PEN international logoMay 2013: PEN International
Creativity and Constraint in Today’s China

The report, which compiled five years of research between 2008 and 2013, found a “targeted, protracted and widespread crackdown in Tibetan regions... which have severely curtailed [Tibetans’] right to express themselves freely”. It also noted, “the enforcement of a dominant language... such as that imposed in the TAR, is a direct attack on freedom of expression,” and, “the policy restricting cultural expression extends to all areas of Tibetans’ lives”. The report stated that since 2008 “[Tibetan] writers, intellectuals, and advocates faced increasingly severe restrictions”. Read report

Press Freedom
Freedom House logoMay 2013: Freedom House
Freedom of the Press 2013
In 2012, “China’s media environment remained one of the world’s most restrictive”. “Conditions in Tibetan areas deteriorated” during 2012 and “access for foreign journalists to Tibet and Tibetan-populated regions of neighbouring provinces was especially restricted”. In addition, “ordinary Tibetans” were “imprisoned for accessing, possessing, or transmitting banned information” and the “[Chinese] authorities resorted to more draconian measures to curb the [self-immolation] protests and restrict the transmission of information about them”. Read reportReporters Without Borders logoMay 2013: Reporters Without Borders
2013 World Press Freedom Report

In the World Press Freedom Index, China remained in the bottom 10 countries (out of 179) for press freedom, along with the likes of Sudan, Iran, Syria and North Korea. The report noted that in China “those involved in online news and information, such as bloggers and netizens, are forced to deal with increasingly harsh repression. Many Tibetan monks have been convicted or abducted for having sent information abroad about the disastrous state of human rights in Tibet.” Read report

Housing Rights
Human Rights Watch logoJune 2013: Human Rights Watch
Mass Rehousing and Relocation in Tibet

The Chinese government is planning to forcibly rehouse and relocate over one million rural Tibetans over the next 18 months. Since 2006, China has already resettled over two million Tibetans, mostly nomads and farmers, into "New Socialist Villages". This resettlement policy has led to extensive rights violations including "the absence of consultation" and the "failure to provide adequate compensation", both of which are required under international law. There are also concerns over "defects in the quality of the houses provided, absence of remedies for arbitrary decisions, failures to restore livelihoods, [and] a disregard for autonomy rights nominally guaranteed by Chinese law in Tibetan areas."Download options

Reports by Tibet Organisations
January 2013: TCHRD: Annual Report 2012 
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy's report records wide-ranging human rights violations in Tibet during 2012, including arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, self-immolation protests and language rights. 
Press release I Download 

January 2013: TCHRD: Religious Repression in Tibet 2012
Special report by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy providing an in-depth analysis of the internationally protected right to freedom of religion and belief, and the ways in which the Chinese government is continuously and systematically violating it in the context of Tibetan Buddhism. 

March 2013: International Tibet Network: Submission to Universal Periodic Review
A report analysing the Chinese government's human rights record in Tibet since 2009. Submitted to the UN Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review of China, due in October 2013. International Tibet Network is a global coalition of Tibet groups including Tibet Society. The report was also submitted to the UK Foreign Office in May by Tibet Society. 

Summary I Download

May 2013: International Campaign for Tibet: Tibetan Refugees in Nepal
This report, highlighting issues facing Tibetan refugees in Nepal, was submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee ahead of the session in July. Article I Download

May 2013: Tibet Policy Institute: Why Tibet is Burning...
A revised report explaining the fundamental reasons behind the wave of self-immolations inside Tibet and the alarming escalation in  protests. The Tibet Policy Institute is a think-tank of the Tibetan government in exile (Central Tibetan Administration). 
Article I Download

June 2013: International Tibet Network: A New Global Approach, Unite for Tibet
This report, presented to world leaders prior to the G8 Summit in June, calls on governments to change the way they engage with China on the Tibet issue. It highlights the failure of current methods and recommends new approaches such as multilateral policies and coordinated diplomatic actions. International Tibet Network is a global coalition of Tibet groups including Tibet Society. The report was delivered to Prime Minister Cameron in June by Tibet Society. 
Article I View Report

June 2013: International Tibet Network: Concerns and Questions about Developments in Lhasa
A report on the Chinese government's plans to 'modernise' large parts of the ancient Tibetan quarter of Lhasa. The report was delivered to UNESCO in June, prior to the meeting of the World Heritage Committee. International Tibet Network is a global coalition of Tibet groups including Tibet Society. Article I View Report

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