|Mar 29, 2018|
|Southern Mongolian grasslands devastated by Chinese coal mines (photo courtesy of Greenpeace)|
On 29 March 2018, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) submitted a joint report to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The report was submitted on the occasion of the 31st Session of the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, during which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be under consideration. The report highlights the human rights violations occurring in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region (IMAR), with a particular focus on the violation of rights of Mongolian Herders, the arbitrary detention of political dissidents and the continuing suppression of the Mongolian language.
The UPR report can be accessed and downloaded here.
Since its annexation to the PRC, IMAR has undergone a series of political purges, cultural assimilation, economic marginalisation and environmental destruction at the hands of the Chinese Government. The Mongolians have not only been denied their right to self-determination, the possession of their ancestral lands and natural resources. They have also been subjected to systematic persecution, ethnic discrimination and have continually been denied even the most basic human rights of fundamental freedom and human dignity, both individually and collectively.
Newly implemented ‘development’ policies have seen wave of rapid industrialisation in IMAR that has resulted in the forced removal of ethnic Mongolians from their traditional lands. This land is then given to Chinese mining companies and large-scale agricultural produce farms, which are heavily polluting the water supplies and causing the destruction of grasslands. These policies directly impact the traditional nomadic culture of the ethnic Mongolians who have used these lands for grazing for centuries. Mongolia culture is under further threat due to the suppression of the Mongolian language throughout the region, in schools and institutions leading to a significant loss of language in the younger generations.
The Mongolian Herders and political dissidents who are active in protesting the conditions in IMAR, are often met with brutality and arbitrarily detained for lengths of time on absurd charges. The report highlights a few of the most pressing cases of political prisoners and Mongolian herders who have been imprisoned.
The report made a number of recommendations to the Government of the People’s Republic of China, to promote constructive dialogue during the session, which included the following:
1. to ensure the ratification and implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);
2. to respect its own national laws and international law by refraining from the use and destruction of Mongolian grasslands and from displacing Mongolian herders without adequate compensation;
3. to take urgent measures to provide better life conditions for ethnic Mongolians, ensuring access to their own lands and water as well as institute and implement a law for the safety of the environment and heath conditions;
4. to immediately release all political prisoners;
5. to take measures to protect and guarantee the rights of minorities as stated in several recommendations submitted in the course of the 2nd UPR cycle;
6. to respect its own constitution in order to ensure freedoms for its nationalities to use and develop their own languages, folkways and customs.