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Study finds torture and human rights abuses among Tibetan refugees

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.


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Contact: Edward Mills
millsej@mcmaster.ca
1-416-951-8530
McMaster University, Department of Clinical Epidemiology
9-Nov-2005


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