The Subcommittee on International Human Rights, a part of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, House of Commons, Canada, has released a significant report addressing the human rights situation of Tibetans and the Chinese residential boarding school system in Tibet. The report sheds light on the ongoing issues faced by Tibetans, particularly in relation to cultural assimilation.
The report emphasizes the 28th anniversary of the disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama, a prominent figure in Tibetan Buddhism, who was abducted by Chinese authorities at the age of six and has not been released since. This serves as a reminder of the continued separation of Tibetan children from their families, with an estimated 800,000 currently enrolled in Chinese residential schools for the purpose of assimilation.
The Subcommittee's report emphasizes the need to address the expansion of the residential school system in Tibet and the indoctrination taking place within it. It calls for the protection of the rights of Tibetan children, the preservation of their language and culture, and the promotion of accountability for discrimination and human rights violations.
The report contains 18 recommendations aimed at addressing these issues. They include supporting internationally-led investigations and sanctions, protecting activists and researchers from harassment, advocating for independent academic research in Tibet, and preserving Tibetan language and culture. The Subcommittee also calls for the resumption of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue, as previously agreed upon by the House of Commons.
Furthermore, the report urges the Canadian government to take action by utilizing the Special Economic Measures Act to impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in implementing repressive policies against Tibetans and other minority groups. Diplomatic avenues, including engaging with the United Nations and raising awareness at international forums, are also encouraged.
Recognizing the concerns expressed by the international community regarding the Tibetan minority's rights, the Subcommittee decided to undertake a study on this matter. Testimonies were heard from Tibetan rights activists, academics, and human rights experts, all of whom provided evidence highlighting the increasing control exerted by the Government of the People's Republic of China over Tibetans' cultural rights. Similar policies affecting other ethnic minorities, such as the Uyghurs, were also discussed.
In addition, the Government of Canada is urged to issue a statement echoing the concerns of UN special rapporteurs and the communication from November 11, 2022, calling for an end to the residential boarding school system in Tibet. The statement should emphasize the importance of permitting private Tibetan schools and ensuring that Mandarin is not the sole language of instruction.
The Subcommittee's report raises important concerns about the situation in Tibet and urges action to protect the rights and well-being of the Tibetan people, with the hope of fostering positive change and preserving their rich cultural heritage.
Edited and collated by Team TRC