The UN has urged China to allow international monitors to assess the ground situation in Tibetan areas which has seen an escalation in extreme forms of protest including self-immolations.
Days before the Chinese leadership meets for the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), UN chief for human rights, Navi Pillay urged authorities to address the "longstanding grievances that have led to an alarming escalation in desperate forms of protest including self-immolations in Tibetan areas."
Pillay's statement is being seen as a first and strong statement on Tibet from the UN.
According to International Campaign for Tibet, at least 62 cases of self-immolations have been reported; seven cases were reported last week.
"Social stability in Tibet will never be achieved through heavy security measures and suppression of human rights," she said.
"Deep underlying issues need to be addressed, and I call on the Government to seriously consider the recommendations made to it by various international human rights bodies, as well as to avail itself of the expert advice being offered by the UN's independent experts on human rights."
Pillay said she was disturbed by "continuing allegations of violence against Tibetans seeking to exercise their fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, association and religion," and pointed to "reports of detentions and disappearances, of excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and curbs on the cultural rights of Tibetans."
Her statement made a specific mention of the case of a 17-year-old girl "who was reportedly severely beaten and sentenced to three years in prison for distributing flyers calling for Tibet's freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama."
Others have been sentenced to between four and seven years in prison for writing essays, making films or distributing photos of events in Tibet outside China. Serious concerns have been raised about fair trial standards, and the torture and ill-treatment of detainees.
At least 12 outstanding requests for official visits to China by UN Special Rapporteurs on various human rights issues, including one by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief are pending with authorities here.
Pillay urged Tibetans not to self-immolate but indicated that Chinese policies were to blame for creating the conditions.
"I recognise Tibetans' intense sense of frustration and despair which has led them to resort to such extreme means, but there are other ways to make those feelings clear. The Government also needs to recognise this, and permit Tibetans to express their feelings without fear of retribution."