China says no to visit by UN human rights expert

April 10th, 2008 - 11:30 pm ICT by admin  

Geneva, April 10 (DPA) China has rejected a request by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, to visit Tibet in April, a UN spokesman confirmed Thursday. Spokesman with the high commissioner’s office Rupert Colville said: “The high commissioner had asked to visit but the Chinese authorities have said it would not be convenient at this time.”

“China said Louise Arbour would be welcome later at a mutually convenient date,” he added.

The refusal comes as six UN human rights experts from the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a joint statement of concern regarding the ongoing protests and reports of high numbers of arrests in Tibet and surrounding areas in China.

The experts urged restraint by all parties. They were concerned at reports of the arrests of more than 570 Tibetan monks, including some children, March 28-29.

It followed raids by security forces on monasteries in Ngaba County and in Dzoge County in Tibet.

The statement said: “The UN experts are deeply concerned by reports of security forces firing on protestors and alleged killings.”

The experts also called for greater access for journalists and independent observers.

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