Montreal, April 7, 2004: On the 2-year anniversary of the arrest of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, activists from across Europe, North America and Asia rallied today in Geneva on the margins of the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly-revered Tibetan lama and social activist is under imminent threat of the death penalty.
Tibetans in Canada are marking the anniversary in community gatherings across the country.
On March 22, 2004, Amnesty International released a new report on the use of the death penalty in China, claiming it carries out more executions than the rest of the world combined. The AI report also described China�s criminal justice system as one characterized by unfair trials, disregard for the presumption of innocence and a lack of respect for both international law and domestic legislation.
"Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was targeted because he inspired the Tibetan people", said Thubten Samdup, National President of the Canada Tibet Committee. "The world community must prevent his execution and I fully expect the Government of Canada to make serious representations to their counterparts in Beijing for this purpose".
The Geneva rally comes as UNCHR members are faced with yet another resolution on the human rights situation in China. No China resolution has ever succeeded at the UNCHR where block voting is endemic. The Government of Canada ceased its sponsorship of the China resolution in 1997 and adopted a behind-the-scenes dialogue approach in its place.
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was arrested at Jamyang Choekorling Monastery, in eastern Tibet on April 7, 2001. After nearly eight months of incommunicado detention he and an alleged co-conspirator, Lobsang Dondrup, were tried in a closed trial with inadequate legal representation. On January 26, 2003, after a second secret judicial proceeding, Lobsang Dondrup was summarily executed. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was sentenced to death, with a two year suspension. Despite requests by several governments, Chinese authorities have produced no evidence of guilt related to the charges against Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.
For more information about Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, see http://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/china0204/.
For information about the death penalty in China, see http://web.amnesty.org/pages/chn-220304-feature-eng.