Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study finds torture and human rights abuses among Tibetan refugees


Torture impacts mental health of Tibetan refugees

The incidence of mental illness and torture amongst Tibetan refugees is much higher than previously expected, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC International Health and Human Rights. Researchers say that NGOs and foreign governments should be aware that the human rights abuses levied on this vulnerable population may have lasting health effects and are unacceptable under international law.

Many Tibetan refugees flee Tibet to Nepal or India in order to escape religious and political oppression, following the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950. In current Tibet, ethnic Tibetans are forbidden to worship their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, or to speak out on political issues. Such actions can result in criminal prosecutions. Accessing accurate information on the status of human rights in Tibet is difficult due to state censorship, but researchers from North America and Europe have conducted systematic evaluations of torture, imprisonment and major human rights violations and examined their impact on mental health amongst refugees who successfully escaped to Nepal and India.

Edward Mills, from McMaster University in Canada, and colleagues from Wake Forest University and Emory University in USA and universities of Toronto, York and Manitoba in Canada, found that the prevalence of reported human rights violations was extremely high within the refugee population and likely corresponds to their increased incidence of mental health illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, and depression.

Mills and colleagues had previously conducted research in Nepal with recent Tibetan refugees and found reported incidences of child imprisonment, torture, rape and executions. Their current study evaluated all published reports on mental health outcomes within the Tibetan population. All included studies had been conducted on Tibetan refugees that had successfully escaped Tibet, a combined analysis of 410 refugees. Their study reveals that the incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder, a disorder causing recurrent nightmares, crying, and numbness was as high as 23 per cent of all refugees. Anxiety disorder ranged from 25-77 per cent of the refugee population, and major depression was as high as 57per cent of all refugees.

The researchers also found that the reported incidence of torture and human rights violations were unacceptably high. The most common torture techniques across both groups were beatings, electrical torture, being forced to provide blood, and being imprisoned. In addition to torture, both groups reported traumatic events that may affect mental health. These included sleep deprivation, witnessing murder, kidnapping of family and friends, and the destruction of religious symbols including monasteries. One report examined children and found that children had also reported torture and major human rights violations.

This study provides reliable evidence that human rights violations within Tibet are unacceptably high and are impacting on the mental health of refugees. The researchers stress that "non-governmental organizations and foreign nations dealing with China should be putting human rights at the forefront of negotiations. As countries such as the USA, Canada and the UK work towards building trade relations with China, it cannot be at the expense of human rights. These studies demonstrate the lasting impact of unacceptable abuses." Clinicians and the public dealing with Tibetan refugees should be aware of the abuses many have been through.

Edward Mills | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>