Tibet: human rights and the rule of law

Issue: Civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights
Document Type: Thematic Report
Date: 1997

The ICJ has been concerned by developments in Tibet for almost four decades. In 1959 the ICJ published “The Question of Tibet and the Rule of Law”, which examined Chinese policy in Tibet, violations of human rights in Tibet and the position of Tibet in international law.

In view of the apparent gravity of the violations of human rights alleged, including evidence relating to the question of genocide, the ICJ decided to create a special committee of inquiry.

The report documents a new escalation of repression in Tibet, characterised by a “re-education” campaign in the monasteries, arrests of leading religious figures and a ban on the public display of photos of the Dalai Lama. It also examines the increasing threats to aspects of Tibetan identity and culture through the transfer of Chinese population into Tibet, the erosion of the Tibetan language and the degradation of Tibet’s environment. Tibetans, the report finds, are powerless to halt these threats because the “autonomy” which they supposedly enjoy is more fictitious than real. The report concludes that Tibetans are a “people under alien subjugation,” entitled to but denied the right of self-determination.

The report also credits China with significant improvements in the fields of education and health care in Tibet, particularly when compared with the situation in “old” Tibet, but rejects China’s assertions that these advances legitimise its coercive behaviour.

Tibet-human rights and the rule of law-thematic report-1997-eng (full text in English, PDF)

Tibet-human rights rule of law-thematic report-summary-1997-eng (summary in English, PDF)

Tibet-human rights rule of law-thematic report-summary-1997-fra (summary in French, PDF)

Tibet-human rights and rule of law-thematic report-summary-1997-spa (summary in Spanish, PDF)

Tibet-human rights rule of law-thematic report-summary-1997-ger (summary in German, PDF)


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