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China grilled at CAT review on Tibet, Uyghur, Mongols/ENG

2015. november 18./Phayul.com/TibetPress

eredeti cikk

DHARAMSHALA, November 18: China today faced nine international experts on the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT)in Geneva.

In their opening speech in response to the committee’s written questions, the Chinese delegation painted a picture of improvement and adherence to good practice, disassociating themselves from suggestions of endemic, systematic acts of torture, according to a press release issued by the Tibet Advocacy Group.

However, the Committee responded by challenging many of the Chinese delegation’s statements, and requested far more information - including on the 24 cases of Tibetans suspected to have been tortured, which the Committee had previously raised.

“As a Tibetan I am painfully aware of the endemic use of torture against my people in Chinese detention” said Migmar Dolma of the Tibet Advocacy Coalition. “There are so many Tibetans in detention right now who are suffering and at risk of death because the Chinese state wants to extract confessions or punish them for what they see as disloyalty to China. It is so encouraging to see an independent UN Committee take heed of the situation and make real efforts to push China towards making commitments that would end this terrible status quo.”

Tibetan activists said they were pleased by the committee’s focus on the case of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a very high profile political prisoner who died a suspicious and early death in secret detention earlier this year on July 22, 2015. The Committee has asked China to provide detailed information about any investigations made into his death, and also to respond to their questions about providing independent and private medical care to detainees, in line with international law. The Committee also raised the case of Khenpo Kartse, a Tibetan political prisoner who the activists allege has been denied medical care.

“Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death was a huge shock, as it demonstrated the level of impunity that police and prison personnel have in the Chinese system” said Professor Susan Akram of Boston University’s School of Law. “It is so important that CAT committee members are directly challenging China vis a vis torture and asking the hard questions about anti-torture trainings, investigations and prosecutions, so that China is held accountable for its failure to address torture and is pushed to make commitments to change. Torture will be stopped in China only through real reforms, but that can start here.”

The Committee also raised concern about high profile Uyghur political prisoner the intellectual Ilham Tohti, jailed for life in September 2014 on charges of separatism. The committee requested further information on his case and conditions, and went on to question China’s use of torture as part of its anti-terrorism strategy.

“For too long China has been masking its torture of Uyghurs behind an anti-terror front”, said Dolkun Isa of the World Uyghur Congress. “The CAT committee were right to question this and to ask the Chinese delegation to answer to their treatment of Uyghur detainees, including Ilham Tohti. Uyghurs have faced increased oppression since protests in 2009. The Committee must carry on its strong start and really press China to commit to genuine change or there will be more long years of torture and suffering”.

The Committee chose to focus strongly on flaws in the Chinese legal system which help to create the conditions for torture to be carried out and with impunity, including restrictions and risks that lawyers face when practicing, lack of access for detainees to lawyers, and the apparent absence of an independent bar committee in China.

China is currently responding to the CAT committee’s questions at the time of this reporting going online.


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