Rights advocates urge UN rights chief to visit Tibet — Radio Free Asia

The UN human rights chief must include Tibet in the itinerary of her planned trip to China in May, human rights groups have told RFA.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet announced earlier this month that she had reached an agreement with the Chinese government for a visit “scheduled for May”.

Although Xinjiang is expected to be a major focus of his trip, as the UN seeks to complete an overdue report on serious rights abuses by Chinese authorities targeting Uyghurs and other Turkish communities there, groups Rights groups told RFA that Bachelet, a former Chilean president, should not neglect Tibet.

Once an independent nation, Tibet was forcibly invaded and incorporated into China 70 years ago. Chinese policies that violate Tibetans’ rights to religious freedom and assembly and have pushed to ban Tibetan language learning to promote the dominance of Mandarin Chinese there, rights groups say.

“We welcome the visit of the UN High Commissioner to China, including Xinjiang. However, no assessment of human rights violations by China can be completed without a visit to the Tibetan areas,” Kalden Tsomo, UN advocacy officer at the Tibet Office in Geneva, told the Tibetan Service of FRG Wednesday.

“In order to understand the reality of what is happening inside Tibet, we urge the UN Human Rights Council to pressure China to grant unhindered access to Tibetan areas in UN High Commissioner for Human Rights during his visit to China and areas under his control,” she said.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the high commissioner had been “disturbingly silent” on Tibet.

“I think the same issue will apply to Tibetan areas as Uyghur areas, which means it’s extremely unlikely that she will be able to travel freely or speak freely to people without fear of reprisal,” Sophie Richardson said. , responsible for the group. director China.

Access to Tibet is a sore point not only for the UN, but also for the United States and other Western countries.

In 2021, China “systematically impeded” travel to Tibet and other parts of China for US diplomats and officials, journalists and tourists in 2021, the US State Department said in a report submitted to the Congress last week.

The United States remains concerned that PRC authorities have systematically impeded travel to Tibetan areas of the PRC for U.S. citizens, including Tibetan Americans seeking to visit family,” said one. spokesperson for the State Department in RFA.

Under the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, signed into law in 2018 by former President Donald Trump, Washington has applied visa restrictions to Chinese officials who have restricted foreigners’ access to Tibet.

Washington has long complained that Chinese diplomats, scholars and journalists enjoy unlimited travel to the United States, while China tightly restricts their American counterparts’ access to Tibet and other regions.

Translated by Tenzin Dyicki. Written in English by Eugene Whong.