Sources: International Service for Human Rights and direct information
Date: May 1, 2018
Every five years, each member state of the United Nations comes before the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva for its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) with respect to the human rights situation in the country. China’s UPR is scheduled for November 6, 2018. On March 7, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, introducing his office’s yearly report, criticized the human rights situation in China: “My Office continues to receive urgent appeals regarding arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and discrimination, emanating from human rights defenders, lawyers, legislators, booksellers, and members of communities such as Tibetans and Uyghurs. Many of these cases involve people struggling against economic, social and cultural injustices, such as cases of corruption; illegal seizure of land and forced evictions; destruction of cultural sites; constraints on religious practices and restrictions on use of local languages. I look forward to resolving some of these issues with the Chinese Government as we move towards China’s UPR review in November.” Canada, the European Union, France, Germany and the United States also criticized China’s deteriorating human rights situation and lack of religious freedom. So did several NGOs speaking at the UNHRC’s 37th Session. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights reminded the UNHRC that “ten years ago almost to the day, an unprecedented wave of protests began in Tibet. Since then, China has intensified repression and imposed pervasive military and security controls on the plateau, in order to stifle any challenge to its rule. This has been combined with attacks on Tibetan identity and culture and gross human rights violations, both of civil and political rights, and of economic, social and cultural rights. But the continuing wave of self-immolations, with more than 153 Tibetans setting themselves on fire since 2009, is a clear evidence that Tibetans are still suffering from China’s disrespect for their fundamental rights and freedoms.” The Society for Threatened Peoples also denounced that “gross violations of human rights, including freedom of religion and belief in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and adjacent areas where Tibetans live are going on. The space for Tibetans to live with dignity and human values is shrinking. The State’s interference in religious affairs had reduced the free space for the practice of Tibetan Buddhism.”
International Service for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch focused on “documented cases of harassment, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment, and enforced disappearance of activists, lawyers, and others deemed a threat to the state.”
The Coordination des associations et des particuliers pour la liberté de conscience called the attention of UNHRC on the continuing persecution of members of The Church of Almighty God, as well as China’s attempts to interfere in the cases where they seek recognition of refugee status in other countries.
As usual, China rejected any criticism as “interference in its internal affairs,” and pointed out that human rights violations also occur in the United States and Europe.