By Tsering Choephel
DHARAMSALA, 15 Aug: United Nations (UN) three experts’ joint statement on 10 Aug, called on China to provide information about nine Tibetans incarcerated for their peaceful environmental human rights campaigns.
The experts decry the lack of information regarding their detention, trial and sentencing and urged “the Chinese government to provide details on why and where they are being held and their health conditions, provide them with adequate medical care and permit their families access to visit them.”
The nine Tibetans – Anya Sengdra, Dorjee Daktal, Kelsang Choklang, Dhongye, Rinchen Namdol, Tsultrim Gonpo, Jangchup Ngodup, Sogru Abhu and Namsey – were arrested and sentenced to jail sentence between seven and 11 years for standing up against China’s illegal mining activities at the sacred mountains and the hunting of endangered species in Tibetan land.
Six of them – Dhongye, Rinchen Namdol, Tsultrim Gonpo, Jangchup Ngodup, Sogru Abhu and Namsey – serve imprisonment without the length of their sentence, their whereabouts and conditions kept secret, highlighting China’s autocratic rule in the occupied Tibet.
Lack of transparency and information from Chinese authority regarding the nine imprisoned environmental rights defenders, the UN experts say “could be seen as a deliberate attempt to make the world forget about these human rights defenders as they spend year after year in isolation” adding that “their families have been kept in the dark about their fate.”
Tibet, the roof of the world, often dubbed as the ‘third pole’ highlights its significance globally. Since the occupation of Tibet – China’s rampant deforestation, hunting of wildlife, illegal mining, nuclear-waste dumbing, mega-dam projects and subjugation of Tibetan’s innate environmental-friendly lifestyle has gravely affected its fragile environment.
China’s effort in tackling the impacts of climate change and to lead in green energy can not be trusted when environmental activists are subjugated to trial and imprisonment instead.
The experts called on China to show its commitment to challenge climate change by refraining “from persecuting environmental human rights defenders and release all nine immediately.”
The report said the UN experts have been in contact with the Government of the People’s Republic of China regarding the issue. No details of China’s response have been stated.