UN mandate holders demand answers from China about Tibetan activists

Tibet Post International 
Molly Lortie
May 30, 2017
Dharamshala — According to new reports made public by the United Nations, a group of UN mandate holders sent a joint communication last December to China regarding the details and welfare of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk and relatives of the late Tibetan teacher Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Dolkar Lhamo and Nyima Lhamo. The two cases have captured attention of global monitors and press over the course of the last few years.

In the case of Tashi Wangchuk, five Special Procedures mandate holders of different UN groups have all raised questions to the Chinese government. According to the report, the experts expressed serious concern at the “arrest, the initial incommunicado detention and the continued detention of Tashi Wangchuk as well as his limited right to counsel, the denial of presenting the evidence against him and the irregularities in the criminal investigation.”

They also have expressed “equal concern at the use of separatist charges to criminalize the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression and his defense of cultural rights, as well as to target legitimate human rights activities and physical and psychological integrity while in detention”.

The experts sought the Chinese government’s response in the seven areas of concern including the legal grounds for the arrest and detention of Tashi Wangchuk, his physical and psychological integrity and compatibility with the international norms and standard. And also asked about measures in place to ensure Tibetans’ rights to learn mother tongue freely.

In the case of the two female relatives of the late Tulku Tenzin Delek, three Special Procedures Mandate have sent similar communications to Beijing last year. Nyima Lhamo has escaped into exile, while her mother, Dolkar Lhamo, was released and still lives in Tibet.

UN mandate holders have sought response over the “arrest and detention of Nyima Lhamo and Dolkar Lhamo, which appear to be directly related to their advocacy and imparting of information concerning the death of Tenzin Delek. We express equal concern at the threats, intimidation and surveillance of the two women human rights defenders as well as the use of force against peaceful protestors in Lithang.”

They further expressed concern at the “broader measures taken in Lithang and Nyakchuka, including internet shut downs and the issuance of the communiqué on banned activities, limiting the right to freedom of information, expression as well as the rights to freedom of religion and peaceful assembly in ways that are incompatible with international human rights law”.

The communications made public were sent between December 26, 2016 and February 28, 2017 and the report was made public on May 26.