Geneva: On the sidelines of the ongoing 52nd UN Human Rights Council session, a side event was jointly organised at the UN by the Society for Threatened Peoples, Tibet Bureau- Geneva and the Uyghur World Congress on 13 March 2023 to highlight the human rights violations faced by the Tibetans and Uyghurs.
The side-event titled “Human Rights in China: Tibetans and Uyghurs Report on the Current State of Repression and Accountability Efforts” was moderated by Hanno Schedler, Society for Threatened Peoples. Representative Thinlay Chukki from Tibet Bureau Geneva, Executive Director Kai Mueller from International Campaign for Tibet- Germany, Gulbahar Hatiwaji, Uyghur Camp Survivor (joined online) and Zumretay Arkin, Program & Advocacy Manager of the World Uyghur Congress spoke a the side-event.
Representative Thinlay Chukki and Kai Mueller spoke about the situation inside Tibet especially highlighting the forced assimilation of nearly 1 million Tibetan children in colonial-style boarding schools, forced relocation and rehousing of Tibetan nomads and small-scale farmers, persecution and control of Tibetan Buddhists, Chinese government’s attempts to undermine the sanctity and exercise interference in the institution of the Dalai Lama, massive surveillance through DNA sample collections as well as iris scan collections and the overall deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet. They urged the UN bodies and member states to hold China accountable and especially to ensure that the concluding observations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are implemented by the Chinese government.
Uyghur Camp Survivor Gulbahar Hatiwaji spoke about her experience in the Uyghur camps and the inhumane torture and conditions she was subjected to. Zumretay Arkin expressed disappointment of the Uyghur population against the member states which are muslim-majority and yet failed to support last year’s resolution on Uyghurs at the UN. She noted that it is important for member states to come together to hold China accountable for Crimes it has committed against humanity.
The side-event was well-attended by representatives of member-states, international civil societies as well as UN bodies.