DHARAMSALA, 21 April: UN experts have expressed concern and cautioned China over the “arrest, detention and enforced disappearance” of three Tibetans “allegedly in connection with their cultural activities in favour of the Tibetan minority language and culture.”
“We would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information we have received regarding the arrest, detention and subsequent enforced disappearance of Tibetan writer Mr Lobsang Lhundup (pen name of Dhi Lhaden), musician Mr Lhundrup Drakpa, and teacher Ms Rinchen Kyi, allegedly in connection with their cultural activities in favour of the Tibetan minority language and culture,” read the joint communiqué sent to China by the UN’s Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights; Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Special Rapporteur on the right to education; Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Special Rapporteur on minority issues in February that has now been made public.
“The cases mentioned are representative of the situation faced by a larger number of Tibetan persons engaged in the defense of the Tibetan language, culture and traditions, or expressing critical views about the policies in the region,” it added.
Expressing serious concern, the six UN Special Procedures’ stated that the “alleged arbitrary arrest, detention and enforced disappearance of Mr Lobsang Lhundup, Mr Lhundrup Drakpa and Ms Rinchen Kyi may be linked to the legitimate exercise of their freedom of opinion and expression, which includes artistic expression, and freedom to take part in cultural life, as well as their rights, as a member of an ethnic, religious and linguistic minority, to enjoy their culture, practice their religion and use their language with other members of their community. Further concerns are expressed for their physical well-being.”
“We also express serious concern about what is reported as a trend of repressive actions, including arrests and prolonged detention, some in incommunicado situations, against a larger number of Tibetans engaged in the promotion of the Tibetan culture, including through education, or who precritical of the Chinese rule in Tibet,” the UN experts have said.
“Without expressing at this stage an opinion on the facts of this case and on whether the arrest and detention of Mr Lobsang Lhundup, Mr Lhundrup Drakpa and Ms Rinchen Kyi are arbitrary or not, we would like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to guarantee their right not to be deprived arbitrarily of liberty and to fair proceedings before an independent and impartial tribunal, in accordance with articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the joint communication said and added that the UN experts have issued “this appeal in order to safeguard the rights” of the trio “from irreparable harm and without prejudicing any eventual legal determination.”
The UN experts have urged China to respond to the communiqué within 60 days and further urged China “to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of Mr Lobsang Lhundup, Mr Lhundrup Drakpa and Ms Rinchen Kyi are respected, and, in particular, to prevent any irreparable damage to their life and personal integrity.”
“We also request that your Excellency’s Government adopt effective measures to prevent the recurrence of these acts.”