TCHRD releases two new publications on ‘village democracy’ and UN human rights instruments

Cover of the special report on 'village democracy' in Tibetan

Cover of the special report on ‘village democracy’ in Tibetan

Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) proclaims that ‘all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of law.’ Although the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has signed many UN treaties and conventions, it has consistently failed to implement and abide by them, and has resorted to its domestic laws and regulations to violate the basic and legitimate rights of its citizens.

As a member of the United Nations, the PRC is under legal obligation to educate its citizens, and implement within its territorial boundary, the laws, conventions and treaties of the UN. Instead of raising popular awareness about international human rights law, more emphasis is put on repressive domestic laws promoted and propagated under forced education campaigns such as ‘legal education’ or ‘patriotic education’.

To counter this, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Dharamsala, has come out with two new publications titled “Nyamdrel Gyaltsog Ki Trim Yig Khag” (‘A Collection of United Nations’ Conventions) and “Sota Chen Ki Mangtso” (‘Monitored Democracy’). [Read more...]

FIRST-CUT SCREENING OF ‘THROUGH FLESH AND BONES’ : TCHRD Observes International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

DVD cover of 'Through Flesh and Bones: Stories of Torture and Survival in Tibet'

DVD cover of ‘Through Flesh and Bones: Stories of Torture and Survival in Tibet’

Today, 26 June 2014, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) joins the international community in commemorating the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On this day, we honor and support those who have suffered unjust, cruel and degrading forms of physical and mental torture.  We also express our deep concern over the use of torture against persons exercising their basic rights and freedoms.

We at TCHRD reaffirm our commitment to fulfilling the goal of the UN General Assembly Resolution 52/149 passed 12 December 1997, which proclaimed 26 June as ‘the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.’ That goal is the total eradication of torture and the effective implementation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which entered into force on 26 June 1987.

As declared by the United Nations, torture is a crime under international law. It is a crime against humanity, ‘one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings,’ because torture aims to annihilate the victim’s personality, denying him or her the inherent dignity of human being. Torture strikes at the core of the physical and psychological integrity of a human being. Furthermore, the practice of torture often triggers heightened levels of human rights violations such as disappearances, extra judicial killings and genocide. [Read more...]

FIGHT THE BLACKOUT IN TIBET: World Press Freedom Day Campaign

wpfd eng poster‘Fight the Blackout’ campaign aims to highlight and end the extreme restrictions put on independent journalists and human rights monitors to visit and assess the ground situation in Tibet as Tibetans continue to self-immolate in protest and become victims of human rights abuses.

An initiative of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), ‘Fight the Blackout’ campaign has been active online mobilizing support from the civil society including individuals and groups and reminding the larger humanity about the significance of the World Press Freedom Day, observed globally every year on 3 May, a day for governments to remember their duty to uphold the right to freedom of expression, a fundamental human right; a day to assess the state of press freedom throughout the world and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty; and a day to remember the restrictions imposed upon press freedom throughout the world, including in Tibet. [Read more...]

TCHRD commemorates 25th birthday of Tibet’s disappeared Panchen Lama

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the XIth Panchen Lama of Tibet

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the XIth Panchen Lama of Tibet

Today marks the 25th birthday of the XIth Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, one of the most important spiritual leaders of Tibet, who disappeared when he was 6 years old.[i] This is the 19th year in succession when Tibetans have to commemorate the birthday of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima in his absence.

On 14 May 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognised Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, a son of nomadic parents, as the reincarnate Panchen Lama. A day later, the boy and his parents were disappeared from their home in Lhari County in Nagchu Prefecture in Central Tibet.[ii]  The Chinese government initially denied allegations that he had been disappeared by Chinese government agents. A few months after the disappearance, Chinese government appointed Gyaltsen Norbu as its own Panchen Lama. [Read more...]

12 Years Too Many: Release Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on medical parole

Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) observes with deep concern the 12th anniversary of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s arbitrary arrest on 7 April 2002 which eventually led to life imprisonment.

Popularly known as A-Nga Tashi, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is a highly-respected lama in Lithang County, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Kham. Rinpoche is renowned for his active involvement in the restoration of Tibetan culture and religion, social welfare activities and his bold statements about repressive Chinese policies in Tibet. On 5 December 2002, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and his nephew Lobsang Dhondup were sentenced to death with two years’ reprieve and death sentence respectively. Lobsang Dhondup was executed but Rinpoche’s suspended death sentence was commuted to life due to international pressure. [Read more...]

Goshul Lobsang tortured with pain-inducing injections, leaves a defiant note after untimely death

Goshul Lobsang at his home a few weeks before his death

Goshul Lobsang at his home a few weeks before his death

New information received by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) indicates that Goshul Lobsang, who recently died of torture injuries, might have received injections designed to cause and exacerbate his pain while he was being tortured in detention. The use of torture methods to increase pain is consistent with other Chinese torture tactics. For example, the Chinese adopted Soviet torture techniques to inflict pain faster.[i]

A source who hails from the same village as Goshul Lobsang told TCHRD that Goshul Lobsang was arrested on 29 June 2010[ii] by Machu County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers. For about 5 months he was subjected to severe torture including pain-inducing injections, and deprived of sleep and food by the interrogation officers in Machu County.

Another source told TCHRD that police officers used sharp-pointed objects such as toothpicks to repeatedly pierce and penetrate into the tops of his finger nails and cuticles.  This stabbing, applied with force and consistency, resulted in severe bleeding, swelling and pain making Goshul Lobsang unable to temporarily use his hands.  [Read more...]

TCHRD announces vacancy for the post of Research Associate

vacancy logoThe Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) announces a vacancy for the post of Research Associate. The Centre invites applicants who are passionate and dedicated towards the cause of Tibet and Tibetan people’s struggle for human rights and democracy.

Click on the link for more details TCHRD Job Vacancy Announcement

Tibetan political prisoner on ‘medical parole’ dies of torture injuries

Goshul Lobsang at his home soon after his release on 'medical parole'

Goshul Lobsang at his home soon after his release on ‘medical parole’

A Tibetan political prisoner released on ‘medical parole’ before the completion of his sentence has died after succumbing to torture injuries he suffered at the hands of prison authorities.

Goshul Lobsang, 42, died on 19 March 2014 at his home at Bhelban (Ch: Awancang) Township in Machu (Ch: Maqu) County in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province.

“The Chinese police and prison authorities brutally tortured him in detention and in prison. He suffered death-threatening injuries as a result. Since the authorities feared that he might die in prison, they decided to release him on medical parole, before he was to complete his full sentence. He was released on 27 October 2013,” said a source with contacts in Tibet. [Read more...]

Joint Statement of World Organisation Against Torture and TCHRD on China

Created in 1985, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is today the main coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGO) fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is the main coalition of international non-governmental organisations fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Speaking for itself and TCHRD, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) read a joint statement (below) during the 25th session of the Human Rights Council condemning the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) failure to sign the optional protocols to the Convention Against Torture and to prevent arbitrary detention, torture, and the killing of prisoners.  The statement specifically focused on the gap between the PRC’s rhetoric and its practice. Despite the many well-documented cases, the PRC continues to deny that there is any torture, arbitrary detention, or persecution of human rights defenders.

The joint statement also mentioned the death of Cao Shunli, a human rights defender who died on 14 March 2014 after she was denied medical care while in imprisoned by the PRC. Other NGOs also tried to discuss Cao Shunli’s death and Chinese Human Rights Defenders tried to hold a minute of silence to honor Cao Shunli, who submitted documents on the PRC’s human rights progress to the Human Rights Council before her abduction in September 2013. The PRC was able to delay the session and block the minute of silence. [Read more...]

Questions abound as UNHRC adopts report on China’s Second UPR

Students for a Free Tibet activists unfurl a banner during China's second UPR in Geneva in October 2013 (EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT)

Students for a Free Tibet activists unfurl a banner during China’s second UPR in Geneva in October 2013 (EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT)

On 20 March 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Period Review on People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) system allows every State’s human rights record to be reviewed and discussed by other States. The State under review receives recommendations from other States that it either accepts or reject. The UPR is a unique opportunity to hold States publically accountable for their human rights record. States, like China, that want to be seen as protecting human rights put a lot of emphasis on their UPR review.

“China’s strategy during the UPR was to try and equate laws that are not enforced and empty promises with progress on human rights,” said Ms. Tsering Tsomo, the executive director of TCHRD. “The deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet and the recent death of Cao Shunli on 14 March demonstrate that China’s laws and promises have failed to improve people’s lives and protect human dignity, which is the purpose of the human rights system.” [Read more...]