|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Speak out against China: Amnesty to world leaders
April 02, 2008 16:27 IST
With just over four months remaining in the Beijing Olympics, Amnesty International has urged International Olympic Committee and world leaders to speak out publicly against human rights violations in China.
The "silence" of world leaders and IOC risks being interpreted as "tacit endorsement" of human rights violation "perpetrated by Chinese authorities", the rights group said.
Amnesty has also questioned the Chinese government's commitment to improve its human rights record in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, in a report released by the London-based human rights watchdog.
"The Olympics has so far failed to act as a catalyst for reform. Unless urgent steps are taken to redress the situation, a positive human rights legacy for the Beijing Olympics looks increasingly beyond reach," said Secretary General of Amnesty International Irene Khan.
In and around Beijing, the report said, the Chinese authorities have silenced and imprisoned peaceful human rights activists in the pre-Olympics 'clean up' and in Tibet and the surrounding areas, the crackdown on demonstrators has led to serious human rights violations in recent days.
"These actions cast doubt on whether the Chinese authorities are really serious about their commitment to improve human rights in the run up to the Olympics,"Khan said.
China had promised to improve its human rights records to bag the games but Amnesty says the crackdown on activists has deepened and not lessened because of Olympics.
In the report titled 'China: The Olympics Countdown, crackdown on activists threaten Olympic legacy', Amnesty called on the Chinese authorities to "immediately" end repressive measures against human rights defenders in China as well as against protesters in Tibet and surrounding areas.
Amnesty asked Beijing to give immediate access to Tibet and surrounding areas to UN investigators and other independent observers, cease arbitrary detention, intimidation and harassment of activists.
It also asked China to end punitive administrative detention, allow full and free reporting for all journalists, free all prisoners of conscience and reduce the number of capital crimes as a step towards abolition.
The authorities, the report said, have used excessive, sometimes lethal force to disperse protesters in Tibet and surrounding areas.
In view of "long-documented patterns of torture and other ill-treatment" in Tibet, Amnesty said it fears that Tibetan detainees are likely to face beatings or other abuses. Some risk being sentenced to death after "unfair trials."
It called on the Chinese authorities to disclose the names, whereabouts and legal status of all those detained, and to release anyone detained solely for peaceful protest.
"The near total media black-out on Tibet and the surrounding areas has not only made it difficult to confirm reports but is a betrayal of official promises to ensure 'complete media freedom' in the run-up to Olympics," it said.
The pre-Olympics 'clean-up,' the reports said, has also resulted in the detention of thousands of petitioners in Beijing with many being sent back to their home provinces.
Some petitioners have also been assigned to 'Re-education through labour' -- another "abusive system of detention without trial which has been stalled on China's reform agenda for many years," it added.