TCHRD urges UN panel to consider detention deaths in Tibet

DHARAMSHALA, January 28: As the Intergovernmental Expert Group on the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners today meet for four days in Brasilia, Brazil, Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy has appealed the group to recognize and address attempts by prison officials to avoid responsibility for killing prisoners.

The Tibetan right group also urged the experts to adopt the proposed rule, that requires authorities to investigate deaths in prison or shortly after release, unchanged.

The Expert Group was founded by United Nations to update the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR), a set of rules that outline good principles and practices for the treatment of prisoners and management of prison facilities.

The TCHRD also noted that 87 prisoners died either in detention due to torture in prisoner or shortly after their release between 1987 and 2005.

“The proposed new revision to the SMR would require an impartial investigation to determine whether the deaths during or shortly after detention was a result of the treatment in detention,” said Tsering Tsomo, Director of TCHRD.

A senior Tibetan monk from Driru region, Ngawang Jamyang, died last month in police custody less than a month after his arrest on Nov. 23 along with two others from Lhasa. Another senior Tibetan monk named Geshe Sonam Phuntsok died less than three and a half years after his release from prison.

Tsomo further aded that China deliberately releases prisoners who are about to die to circumvent the intent of the SMR. “Unsurprisingly, the PRC opposes to requiring investigations of deaths that occur shortly after a prisoner is released,” said Tsomo. “Including such a requirement would require the PRC to explicitly refuse to follow the rules or require the PRC to investigate the widespread mistreatment of prisoners that it refuses to acknowledge and attempts to hide from the world.”

Phayul, January 28, 2014


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