UN experts slam tightened security at Tibetan monastery

1st November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Several UN experts raised serious concerns Tuesday over the heavy deployment of security forces at a monastery in south-west China's Sichuan, saying that they are counterproductive.

"Intimidation of the lay and monastic community must be avoided, and the right of members of the monastic community, and the wider community to freely practice their religion, should be fully respected and guaranteed by the Chinese government," said Heiner Bielefeldt, UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion.

Pointing security presence in and around the Tibetan Kirti monastery as well as other monastery in the Aba county, Bielefeldt said that such measures "further exacerbate the existing tensions, and are counterproductive."

The restive Tibetan Buddhist monastery has been the scene of repeated protests, according to rights groups, and previous self-immolations in the region have triggered a crackdown.

Another UN expert Jeremy Sarkin, who heads the working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, also denounced the arbitrary arrests and detention of monks.

"Any enforced disappearance is unacceptable and such practices are in violation of international law," said Sarkin.

"This heinous practice is not permitted under any circumstances. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked to justify an enforced disappearance," he added.

The statement was also jointly issued by the independent expert on minority issues, Rita Izsak, the special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, Maina Kiai, the special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue and the chair of the group on arbitrary detention Hadji Malick Sow.

© 2011 AFP

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