Tibetan Girl Denied Schooling Because of Father’s Political Past

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Namgyal Dolma's photo is shown on an application for her admission to school.
Namgyal Dolma's photo is shown on an application for her admission to school.
Photo courtesy of TCHRD

Authorities in northwestern China’s Gansu province are refusing to allow the school enrollment of a Tibetan girl whose father was jailed for taking part in political protests nine years ago, a rights group based in India says.

Officials say that eight-year-old Namgyal Dolma may not attend school because her birth date was entered improperly on an application, the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said in a Dec. 18 report.

But similar cases have been quickly and easily resolved, TCHRD said, adding that local authorities have told Dolma’s parents the real reason she has not been admitted is her father’s participation in protests calling for Tibetan freedom.

Shonu Palden, Dolma’s father, now lives in failing health at his home in Gansu’s Machu county after being released in 2013 by prison authorities who feared he might die behind bars as a result of the beatings and torture he endured while detained, TCHRD said.

“Authorities had to release him because his health had become very weak,” TCHRD staffer Trisong Dorje told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Dec. 21.

“They thought that he would probably die in prison, and that if this happened it would be considered a violation of the law,” he said.

Palden has undergone two major surgeries following his release, but should have been treated in prison, Dorje said.

“When a person becomes ill, it becomes the responsibility of prison authorities to provide treatment and to spend the money this requires,” Dorje said, adding that denying Palden medical care in prison was a violation both of international law and of China’s own laws.

Palden now suffers from blocked arteries, failing eyesight, and breathing and hearing problems, and his family is struggling to meet the costs of his treatment, TCHRD said in its report.

Now, local authorities are refusing to admit Palden’s daughter to school, Dorje said.

“The case of Palden’s daughter Namgyal Dolma is extremely serious,” added TCHRD director Tsering Tsomo.

“This is not only a case of a government not taking responsibility, but of discrimination,” Tsomo said.

“Under international law, violating the human rights of people holding different political views, or practicing racial discrimination against them, is completely against the law,” she said.

Reported by Sangye Dorje for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Benpa Topgyal. Written in English by Richard Finney.





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