UN experts seek whereabouts of the Panchen Rinpoche and Tibetans arrested earlier this year

The UN’s Committee against Torture (CAT), an independent body of experts asked China to provide a complete list of all Tibetan detained following the March 2008 demonstration in Tibet. This request also includes information on their current location, convictions, etc. The independent body of experts monitors the implementation of the UN,s Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its State parties.

The experts questioned China about what the secret regulations were applied in these cases and why? It further said, “In view of allegations that lawyers who offered to defend Tibetan protesters were warned that they would have their professional licenses suspended if they attempted to do so, please clarify what counsel was provided and whether the defendants were permitted to meet with that counsel in private, in advance of their trials.”

The experts also questioned why a detainee does not have the right to access to an independent doctor during pretrial detention or after conviction.

They also sought information from China about the 30 Tibetans who were sentenced between three years to life imprisonment. The experts asked China to clarify the basis of the sentences and how many cases involved confessions from the defendants. And whether the Tibetans had opportunities to appeal against the verdicts and if independent review or oversight board were assigned to these cases.

The UN’s independent body also sought information on any investigations into those deaths and whether there will be a transparent public inquiry into a number of deaths in connection with the unrest in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and neighboring prefectures and counties. Concerning administrative detention for re-education through labor, the committee sought information on other administrative detention centers as well as on persons detained under the 1997 Law on Administrative Penalties. The Committee also sought information on the whereabouts of Genden Choekyi Nyima – the Panchen Rinpoche was arrested by Chinese Security forces in May 1995 and since then there has been no information of his whereabouts.

During the UN Human Right session in November 2008, China,s fourth periodic report is schedule to review by the Committee. Tibetan NGOs will submit a shadow report on China’s violation of the convention’s articles. China as a signatory of the convention is obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented.