06/29/2009, 00.00
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Tibetans commemorate World Day Against Torture

by Nirmala Carvalho
Each year the United Nations recall the firm and total condemnation of torture and all inhuman treatment. Tibetans in China point out that these practices are still widespread and call on Beijing and the world to intervene.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - On June 26th Tibetans in exile and the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) commemorated the 20th United Nations International Day of Support for the Victims of Torture.

The TCHRD recalled how torture is a crime against fundamental human rights, completely prohibited by international law. The group denounced the Chinese authorities long history in the use of torture against Tibetan detainees to obtain information or to intimidate them, without ever having had to fear any consequences. They also made the point that such inhumane behaviour is an essential element in Beijing’s strategy against Tibetan dissidents, even those who simply declare themselves loyal to the Dalai Lama or criticize the choices of the Chinese authorities.

The TCHRD has accused the police of using mental and physical torture, such as electric shocks, cigarette burns on the body, hanging the victim by the arms, sleep deprivation, isolation, beatings and strenuous work. They also recalled that there are videos that show the Chinese police wildly beating young Tibetans, their only guilt being their opposition to the authorities. Among these is Tendar, wounded by gunfire during protests in Lhasa in March 2008 and taken to hospital by police: when he was discharged his body was covered in cigarette burns and bruises, nails had been driven into his right foot. He died as a result of these injuries.


In 1984 the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, which came into force on 26 June 1987. The Convention obliges Party States to consider torture a crime and to punish anyone who practices it. November 2008 in the annual report the UN accused the Chinese police of using torture on a systematic basis. The Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations as "unjust" and the outcome of “anti-Chinese prejudices”. The TCHRD is calling on the international community to verify the use of torture in China and Beijing to fully implement the UN Convention.


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