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  • 11 Jan, 2024
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UN Experts convey "serious concern" regarding China's systematic assimilation policy in Tibet


                                                              Source: Tibet Bureau Geneva

Geneva: In light of China's unrelenting oppression and systematic control over any expression of Tibetan cultural identity, a group of four UN human rights experts has expressed "serious concern" about the policy of "acculturation and assimilation of Tibetan culture" in China-occupied Tibet.

The UN experts have categorically noted a "series of oppressive actions against Tibetan educational, religious and linguistic institutions, in contradiction to the right to education, cultural rights, freedom of religion or belief and other minority rights of the Tibetan people", in a joint communication sent to China.

Specifically, the experts emphasized the Tibetan residential school system as "a large-scale programme to assimilate Tibetans into majority Han culture," in contrast to China's claims. The original communication, sent on November 11, 2022, was recently made public in accordance with established procedures.

Concerned about the systematic erasure of Tibetan culture, identity, and language, including the removal of Tibetan as a medium of teaching instruction, the forcible closure of local Tibetan schools, and the curtailment of any informal voluntary setting to teach Tibetan language and culture,

UN experts have sought clarification from China on policies and actions on these troubling issues. Furthermore, China has been asked to provide information on a number of schools—private, semi-private, and state-funded that provide Tibetan language instruction, as well as changes over the last ten years.

The 17-page communication includes an annexure that details international human rights law, recalling China's obligations under international bills of rights and concerns/recommendations previously issued by UN human rights treaty bodies and special procedures. Notably, UN experts have reminded China of the three resolutions on Tibet adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1959, 1961, and 1965 (A/RES/1353 (XIV), A/RES/1723 (XVI), and A/RES/2079 (XX).

Representative Thinlay Chukki, Tibet Bureau Geneva, has welcomed the UN experts' intervention in this critical matter, noting that "the Chinese government should oblige the UN experts' demands and submit details pertaining to its acculturation and assimilation policies against Tibetans, particularly those implemented through residential schools."

The communication was issued by four UN experts: the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, a Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, a Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Education, and a Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.


Edited & Collated by Team TRC