The Tibet Bureau and the Tibetan Women's Association jointly delivered a statement on the situation of Tibetan women in Tibet during a UN public briefing held on May 8, 2023. The briefing, organized as part of the 85th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CEDAW), aimed to review China's implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The expert committee, consisting of 23 members, is scheduled to assess China's progress on May 12, 2023.
Representative Thinlay Chukki, accompanied by UN Advocacy Officer Kalden Tsomo and the President of the Tibetan Women's Association (Central) Tenzing Dolma, participated in the meeting and engaged with the members of the UN committee, providing them with an overview of the situation faced by Tibetan women under China's control in Tibet.
During the two-minute oral briefing, Kalden Tsomo, the UN Advocacy Officer of the Tibet Bureau, highlighted discriminatory policies and practices imposed by China that disproportionately affect Tibetan women in Tibet. She expressed deep concern over the alarming instances of harassment and sexual abuse in residential schools aimed at assimilating Tibetan children into the Han majority culture. Furthermore, she brought attention to the enforced disappearance of the XIth Panchen Lama of Tibet, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, and his mother, Dechen Choedon, as well as the forced eviction of Tibetan nuns from Yachen Gar, a significant Tibetan Buddhist learning center for female practitioners. Tsomo also emphasized the high number of self-immolations, with 159 Tibetans, including girls and women, having self-immolated since 2009 as a form of political protest against Chinese repression in Tibet.
In her concluding remarks, Tsomo urged the committee to exert pressure on China to halt the persecution and discrimination faced by Tibetans, particularly women and girls. She called for the preservation of Tibetan culture, language, and religious traditions among Tibetan children and urged China to reevaluate its discriminatory policies and suppression of the Tibetan people, which have contributed to a cycle of protests and unrest in Tibet.
Ahead of the CEDAW review, the Tibet Bureau and the Tibetan Women's Association submitted a comprehensive written report on the situation of Tibetan women in Tibet under China's rule. The detailed submission outlines the various challenges and violations faced by Tibetan women in the region.
China ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1980, with its last review conducted by the treaty body's experts in 2014. The 85th session of the CEDAW began on May 8 and is set to conclude on May 26. The Tibet team will continue to actively participate in the remaining sessions related to China, both in public and private settings.
This report was filed by the Tibet Bureau in Geneva, providing a platform to shed light on the urgent need to address the plight of Tibetan women in Tibet and advocate for their rights and well-being.
Edited and collated by Team TRC