24/02/2021

Human Rights Day: Campaign to Free Tibetan Political Prisoners

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On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) calls on the international community to take affirmative actions to protect, promote and fulfill human rights for all. As we observe the anniversary of the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the UN, thousands of Tibetan political prisoners are languishing in Chinese jails without any access to the rights and freedoms of all human beings enshrined in the historic document.

A digital campaign to release Tibetan political prisoners will highlight the lesser-known cases of Tibetans imprisoned for exercising the rights and freedoms enshrined in the UDHR. Through video illustrations with Tibetan voice-over and English subtitles, stories of ordinary Tibetans subjected to incarceration and inhumane torture will be shared on TCHRD’s social media twice every week until 10 January 2021. The stories demonstrate that Tibetan political prisoners are victims of China’s authoritarian system that penalises human rights and political freedom. 

On 9 December, TCHRD along with the Central Association of HH the Panchen Lama hosted a press conference in Dharamsala (India) to release the Tibetan translation of a major report authored by veteran Tibetan human rights advocate Mr Ngawang Choephel Drakmargyapon who passed away due to long illness in November 2019 in Geneva. The 11th Panchen Lama was the world’s youngest political prisoner and still remain incommunicado after more than two decades. 

As we conclude the campaign on 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence on Human Rights Day, let us also remember the leading role played by women of the global South in ensuring the adoption of gender equality in the UN Charter. As recent research has shown, women delegates such as the Brazilian delegate Dr Bertha Lutz and other delegates and participants from  Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Mexico, Venezuela and Australia promoted “feminist views that demanded an explicit reference to women’s rights in the Charter.”

TCHRD calls on the Chinese authorities to release all political prisoners immediately without conditions; repeal all repressive policies and practices in Tibet; ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; and ensure that international human rights standards are applied at all levels of the Chinese legal and political system.