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China: UN expert body seriously concerned about Tibetan monks reportedly subjected to enforced disappearance

GENEVA (8 June 2011) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* on Wednesday voiced its serious concern and urged the Chinese authorities to disclose the fate and whereabouts of all those who have been subject to enforced disappearances in China, including a group of Tibetan monks whose fate or whereabouts still remain unknown.

On 21 April 2011, more than 300 monks of the Ngaba Kirti Monastery, located in Ngaba County, Sichuan Province, were allegedly arrested and taken to unknown destinations in ten military trucks. The arrests were reportedly carried out by agents from the People’s Armed Police, the Public Security Bureau and the People’s Liberation Army.

“We call on the authorities to provide full information on the fate and the whereabouts of the persons who have disappeared,” said the Working Group, noting that it is reported that some of the monks have been released. “We encourage the authorities to undertake full investigations into the on-going practice of enforced disappearances and ensure that those responsible are prosecuted and receive sentences appropriate to the gravity of the crime.”

“Enforced disappearance is a terrible practice that must not be permitted to occur anywhere and no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked to justify an enforced disappearance,” the Working Group stressed. “Family members should be promptly informed on the fate and whereabouts of people reportedly disappeared. Those who have suffered the fate of being subject to an enforced disappearance should be provided with integral reparations.”

The expert body reiterated that “China has an obligation to abide by the strictest standards in the field of human rights. It also should fully cooperate with the UN special procedures and in particular with the Working Group.”(See: China - UN expert body concerned about recent wave of enforced disappearances: http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=10928&LangID=E)

The Working Group also called on China to fulfill its promise to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance and accept the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of individuals, as stated in the Convention.

The Working Group was established by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives. It endeavours to establish a channel of communication between the families and the Governments concerned, to ensure that individual cases are investigated, with the objective of clarifying the whereabouts of persons who, having disappeared, are placed outside the protection of the law. In view of the Working Group's humanitarian mandate, clarification occurs when the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person is clearly established.

The Working Group continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved. It also provides assistance in the implementation by States of the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

(*) The Working Group is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa) and the other members are Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina), Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon) and Mr. Olivier de Frouville (France).

For more information on the WGEID, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/index.htm

How to submit cases to the WGEID? Log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/disappear/docs/How_to_use_the_WGEID.pdf

Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance: http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/(Symbol)/A.RES.47.133.En?OpenDocument

OHCHR Country Page – China: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/CNIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests:
Ms. Giovanna Zucchelli (Tel.:+ 41 22 917 9189 / e-mail: gzucchelli@ohchr.org)
Mr. Matías Pellado (Tel.: +41 22 917 9336 / e-mail: mpellado@ohchr.org)

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