15/07/2020

Joint Statement of World Organisation Against Torture and TCHRD on China

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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.

The full text of the joint TCHRD/OMCT statement is copied below:

 

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

25th session (3-28 March 2014)

Item 6: UPR China

Oral statement delivered by The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), 
a non-governmental organisation in general consultative status in conjunction with the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy

Thank you Mr. President,

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and its member organisation the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) deeply regret that China has refused to consider ratifying OP-CAT, an important tool to prevent torture and ill-treatment, and among the recommendations made to China by the UN Committee Against Torture in 2008. Both organisations urge China to reconsider accepting this recommendation.

Despite some recent amendments made to the Criminal Procedure Law, torture remains rampant in China. Our organisations are concerned about ongoing reports of torture, beatings and other abusive treatment in the Tibet Autonomous Region and neighbouring Tibetan prefectures and counties, in particular of Tibetan monks and nuns. Furthermore, both organisations are concerned that investigations into torture allegations are rarely carried out and that those responsible fail to be prosecuted.

For example, on 23 November 2013, Chinese officials arrested Ngawang Jampel, a senior Tibetan Buddhists scholar. One month later, his body was returned to his family with clear signs that he was beaten and tortured during his detention.[1]

Our organisations urge China to close the compliance gap on important matters such as the absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, notably by fully and effectively implementing the recommendations by the UN Committee Against Torture.

Our organisations are also concerned about assertions by China that are far removed from reality notably that there are no arbitrary detentions in China and that human rights defenders are not subjected to reprisals.

Since October 2013, the month of China’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), TCHRD has documented the detention of 94 Tibetan political prisoners, including 23 monastics. In Sichuan Province, some counties have implemented a system of collective punishment for families, villages, and monasteries associated with self-immolators.[2]

Our organisations were also deeply saddened to learn about the death of Chinese human rights defender Cao Shunli on 14 March 2014, after she was denied medical treatment in detention. Cao Shunli was arrested in September 2013 to prevent her from traveling to Geneva to attend a training on UN human rights mechanisms ahead of China’s UPR. Cao Shunli was leading since 2008 a campaign to demand the Chinese Government to allow genuine civil society participation in China’s UPR.

Our organisations call upon the Human Rights Council and the international community to ensure accountability for Cao’s death as well as for the human rights abuses she died trying to bring to the attention of the international community. The Council needs to assume its responsibility in monitoring that there are no future threats to the participation of civil society representatives. Death is too high a price for cooperating with the UN human rights system.

We thank you.

[1] http://tchrd.org/newsite/2013/12/diru-crackdown-senior-tibetan-buddhist-scholar-beaten-to-death-in-police-custody/

[2] http://tchrd.org/newsite/2014/02/china-announces-unprecedented-harsh-measures-to-deter-self-immolations-in-tibets- dzoege-county/

 

Download PDF version of the joint statement