U.N. rights boss chides China over Tibet protests
GENEVA (Reuters) - The top U.N. human rights official urged China on Friday to address deep-rooted frustrations that have led to desperate forms of protest by Tibetans, including some 60 self-immolations since March.
"Social stability in Tibet will never be achieved through heavy security measures and suppression of human rights," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a rare statement critical of China.
Pillay "urged Chinese authorities to promptly address the longstanding grievances that have led to an alarming escalation in desperate forms of protest, including self-immolations in Tibetan areas".
She also urged the government to respect the rights to peaceful assembly and expression and to release all those detained for exercising those rights.
The victims include seven Tibetans who set fire to themselves in the past two weeks in protest against what they claim is repressive Chinese rule in the Himalayan region.
The Chinese foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment. China has branded the self-immolators "terrorists" and criminals, and has blamed the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama, for inciting them.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; additional reporting by Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing; Editing by Jon Boyle)
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