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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibetan Delegation Draw UNHRC's Focus on Rights Issues in Tibet

June 13, 2008

Tibet Custom (UK)
June 11, 2008

Geneva -- Tibet's former political prisoners, including longest
serving detainee Takna Jigme Sangpo and Phuntsog Nyidron have urged
the special rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council to ensure an
independent assessment of the human rights crisis confronted by the
Tibetan people today.

They were addressing the ongoing eighth regular session of the UN
Human Rights Council from 2 to 18 June in Geneva.

At the beginning of the session, the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, Louise Arbour who completes her four-year mandate on 30 June
made a final speech updating works of her office to the Council. The
President of Slovenia, Danilo Turk, has also address the Council at
the opening of the session.

Walter Kalin, Representative of the Secretary General on the human
rights of internally displaced persons, presenting his reports, cited
many causes that resulted in people being forced from their homes and
countries, such as conflicts, post-conflict situations, the lack of
durable solutions for resettling displaced people and those displaced
by natural disasters. In past months, he had chosen to focus on
people displaced by natural disasters. The disasters in Myanmar and
China reminded everyone of the vulnerabilities of populations with
regards to natural disasters.

Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions, said that his report focused on the role of
national commissions of inquiry as a response to allegations of
extrajudicial executions. Such inquiries were far too often a facade
designed to protect impunity. On his visits to various prisons around
the world, he said that the experience had been often shocking.
Detainees, sometimes not even charged, were kept in conditions dogs
would not be kept in. The Council should act urgently and appoint a
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of detainees.

Leandro Despouy, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and
lawyers, presenting his report, said that a state of emergency
remained the main source of the violation of the right to a fair
trial. Access to justice provided the respect of other rights. States
had an obligation to guarantee access to justice.

In the afternoon on 2 June, Society for threatened peoples and
Movement Contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peoples jointly
held a parallel event to highlight the urgent human rights situation in Tibet.

The invited speakers were Takna Jigme Sangpo and Phuntsok Nyidron,
former Tibetan political prisoners and Geshe Jampel Senge, assistant
abbot of Tibet Institute, Rikon.

The political prisoners addressed the audience by sharing their
personal inhuman treatments endured during incarceration for 32 and
17 years in Chinese administered prison respectively. The crime they
have committed was to express and defend legitimate rights of Tibetan people.

Over 40 participants including some diplomats took part in this
event. In response to question by one participant relating to Chinese
law on selection of Trulku, he said that traditionally Trulku has to
be selected through dreams and divinations by the enlightened Lama.
This is very complex issue and cannot perform by common people or
putting in place a legal system. He accused Chinese government's move
in attempt to degenerate Buddhist tradition by putting in place a
legal system so called "order number 5" meant nothing but to control
high Tibetan spiritual masters especially targeting His Holiness the
Dalai Lama. He cited Panchen Lama's case who has been disappeared
since May 1995 and his whereabouts is still unknown to the world. He
further emphasised the sacrilege of forcing people to denounce His
Holiness the Dalai Lama whom we regard as a refuge. Thus, it is
similar to condemning or disowning your own parents. At the same
time, a video footage of the ongoing protests in Tibet was screened.

On 3 June, Tenzin Samphel KAYTA on behalf of Society for Threatened
Peoples took the floor during interactive dialogue with Special
Rapporteur on 'Independence Judges and Lawyers'. He said "In early
April, the President of the Beijing Bar Association claimed that they
would use their wisdom to smash the "rice bowl" for those lawyers who
signed their names on the statement-offer to Tibetans. Wen Haibo, a
lawyer with the Yitong law firm in Beijing, was one of 21 lawyers who
signed the statement. In an interview with Epoch Times on 4 April,
Wen said: "We believe Tibetans may encounter greater cultural and
legal difficulties. With these considerations in my mind, I feel, as
a lawyer, I have the obligation to provide some free legal assistance
to them. Today thousands of Tibetans detained since 10 March are
languishing in overcrowded prisons all over the Tibetan Plateau
without any legal protection or representations. Therefore, we wish
to know how the Special Rapporteur is monitoring this grave situation?"

On 4 June afternoon, Takna Jigme Sangpo and Phuntsog Nyidron's
statements were read in their presence in the ongoing session on
behalf of Society for Threatened Peoples and France Libertes
respectively during general debate in the Council. However, the
statement wasn't allowed to read in Tibetan language despite past
practice of the then UN commission on Human Rights.

Mr. Takna while referring to his personal sufferings during
imprisonment, he urged the Council "to live up to your
responsibilities by ensuring an independent assessment of the human
rights crisis confronted by the Tibetan people today. He concluded
his speech by praying for the end of the suffering of all the
detainees in this world.

In her statement, Phuntsog Nyidron said "security agents beat us like
punching bags, tortured our naked bodies with electric cattle-prods
and killed our colleagues through such inhuman methods. In some
cases, trained dogs were set free to attack our naked bodies! Tibetan
women, especially nuns have taken a prominent role in the Tibetan
Uprising today again face State-violence."

According to Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein's
press release, Tibetans and its supporters have been staging peaceful
protest in front of the UN building since 2 June when the UN Human
Rights Council began its 8th regular session in Geneva. The protest
aims to draw attention of members of the UN in particular and also
international community on the current tragic human rights situation in Tibet.

--Report filed by Tenzin Samphel Kayta, Human Rights and
Press/Information Officer, The Tibet Bureau, Geneva
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