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UN rights group asks China to report on missing monks and stop 'disappearances'

8 June 2011 – An independent United Nations human rights group today called on Chinese authorities to report on the fate of some 300 Tibetan monks who reportedly were arrested in April, and to investigate “the ongoing practice of enforced disappearances” in the Asian country.

The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said in a press statement issued in Geneva: “We call on the authorities to provide full information on the fate and the whereabouts of the persons who have disappeared. We encourage the authorities to undertake full investigations into the ongoing practice of enforced disappearances and ensure that those responsible are prosecuted and receive sentences appropriate to the gravity of the crime.”

The statement specified that the working group referred to, among others, the 300 monks of the Ngaba Kirti monastery, in Ngaba county, Sichuan province, who were allegedly arrested and taken to unknown destinations in 10 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.

“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 said.

“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 group also called on China to fulfil its promise to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 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 press statement from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said.

The working group’s Chair-Rapporteur is Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa) and the other members are Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina), Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon) and Olivier de Frouville (France).

Created in 1980, the working group’s members are independent and they report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

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