Will Tibetan prisoners see
a new dawn?

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By Dawa Kyab 

THE Universal Declaration of Human Rights, highlights that everyone must have access to all kind of rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind, being it language, religion, political, national and social origin. This United Nations Organization (UNO) has made it clears that not a single right of an individual or group should be violated and culprits be punished. Even with the existence of such internationally accepted regulation, the Chinese Communist Party has been violating the human rights in Tibet openly for several decades. Such law-breaking acts of the Chinese government is politically aimed to destroy the tradition and culture of Tibet, so, that Chinese power could flourish in Tibet without any controversies. 

The Chinese Communist Party over the years has violated human rights in Tibet to a greater extent.  Tibetan people are not allowed to speak Tibetan language; celebrate their traditional festivals; practice their ritual etc. Also with the lapse of time, the violation in Tibet is getting worst with extreme cultural and traditional genocide. The policies in Tibet have affected the lives of millions of Tibetans.  

Under such laws, Tibetan people have to face continuous detentions. Tibetan prisoners are being kept in cells with impoverished facilities, which contradict the universal laws for prisoners. The universal law for prisoners says Prisoners shall be treated with inherent dignity and valued as human beings. But the guards in Chinese prisons have not been treating Tibetan prisoners accordingly rather Tibetan prisoners are being treated as worst then animals. The UNO law for prisoners highlights that the religious beliefs and cultural precepts of the group to which the prisoners belong must be respected. But the prison in charge in Tibet neglects such regulations and have been intimidating Tibetan prisoners to denounce their respected Lamas including His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama. That is total disrespect to the Tibetan religion and belief as well as it also flouts the universal human rights declaration. 

Participants of a demonstration held in New York on February 13, 2021, raising slogans against China and release of Tibetan prisoners.

Reports of deaths due to torture in prisons continue to emerge from Tibet. Tibet political prisoners died either as the direct result of brutal torture causing death while in Chinese police custody or soon after their release. There have been cases where the Chinese authorities released Tibetan political prisoners before the completion of their sentences in near-death condition to evade the responsibility of death in prison. Many Tibetan torture victims suffer from prolonged illness due to ill treatment in prison, often confined to bed for the rest of their lives. 

In 2020, six known deaths of Tibetans due to torture were reported. Lhamo, 36, a Tibetan woman and a mother of three died of police torture in Aug 2020. She was reportedly detained in june by the Chinese authorities for sending money to family members in India. Samdup, a monk died on Feb 17, 2020 at the age of 50, was imprisoned for unknown reasons. Choekyi, a monk, released in Jan 2019 after serving 4  year sentence in prison, died on May 07,2020 at his home due to torture in prison. Tsering Bhakdro, 51 died on Apr 26 in Lhasa after a prolonged illness due to torture during his long prison sentence. On April 18, Gedhun Sherab, succumbed to injuries sustained in custody. Similarly, Tashi Phuntsok, passed away on Mar 16 after being released from prison.The testimonies of the former Tibetan prisoner like Golog  Jigme, Gonpo Thiney, Tenzin Namgyal have revealed the harshness of the administration in Chinese  prisons.  

A demonstration in London for free and independent Tibet.

In 2021, so far three known deaths caused by torture have been reported. The death of a young 19 years old monk named Tenzin Nyima in a hospital in Kardze prefecture, after he was released from the prison; death of a Tibetan tourist guide Kunchok Jinpa on February 6, 2021 in a hospital in Lhasa in the Tibetan 

Autonomous Region, three months after his release from prison as well as death of a Tibetan monk named Ra Tsering Dhondup in September 2021 in Sichuan’s capital Chengdu after his release. All these deaths show that when the health of the prisoners deteriorated in custody, they were released. Several reports of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) have also highlighted the violation of rule  of international laws in Tibet. 

Human rights groups need to express their concern over the Tibetan prisoners. Recently, in August and September 2021, Chinese authorities have arrested several hundreds of Tibetans on fraudulent charges and released only a few after detaining them for few days.