In a report on October 12, HRW said that, since the 2008 uprising in Tibet, the Chinese government has imposed drastic restrictions on Tibetan monasteries in Ngaba, which include security raids, arbitrary detentions of monks, increased surveillance within monasteries, and a permanent police presence inside monasteries to monitor religious activities.
"These measures appear to have fueled tensions between Tibetans and Chinese authorities in the region," the report said, "contributing to desperate acts of protest by individuals, including self-immolations, the latest two on 7 October 2011.
HRW's China director, Sophie Richardson said, "Security measures designed to curtail the right to free expression, association, and religious belief in Tibetan monasteries are not legitimate. Even worse, those measures are exacerbating the tensions. Instead, the government should address the region's underlying grievances."
In its assessment of Chinese government statistics, HRW said, "The increase in government spending on security in Ngaba and Karze in eastern Tibet since 2002 has contributed to provocative policing techniques such as monastery blockades and the mass detentions of monks that have repeatedly contributed to local discontent and unrest.
"The increased security measures appear to have been a major factor in the escalation of tensions that have led to several protests in which monks tried to set themselves on fire to bring attention to the situation in Ngaba."
HRW urged the Chinese government to release information about the whereabouts and well-being of all the monks forcibly removed from Kirti monastery, to ensure that its maintenance of public security does not encroach on internationally guaranteed rights, and to address Tibetans' fundamental grievances.
It also urged all governments concerned with human rights in China to articulate publicly their concerns about the deteriorating environment, and to press the Chinese government to address Tibetans' rights.
"Recent developments in and around Kirti monastery show the terrible human cost of ongoing repression," said Ms Richardson. "Clearly the Chinese government can't spend its way out of this problem. Genuine stability is the result of protecting - not denying - people their rights."