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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

More than 100 MPs Urge Prime Minister Chrétien to Promote TIBET Negotiations while in China

October 20, 2003

- New website to document negotiations process and opportunity for Canada to take action on Tibet
- Dalai Lama to visit Ottawa from April 21-24, 2004; public event planned with Alanis Morissette


Ottawa, October 20, 2003: Before his final visit to China as Prime Minister of Canada, more than one hundred (100) Members of Parliament have written to Mr. Chr�tien urging him to actively convene face-to-face negotiations between representatives of the Dalai Lama and China. The letter will be released today during a press conference with Members of Parliament at the Parliamentary Press Gallery at 10:00 am.

The letter requests the Prime Minister to play the role of honest broker in an effort to move forward the fledgling Sino-Tibet dialogue towards full-scale negotiations aimed at resolving the Tibet issue. The past year has seen new hope for negotiations, as special envoys of the Dalai Lama have twice visited China and Tibet for talks with officials there.

"Tibet provides an opportunity to highlight Canada's international reputation as a peacemaker and defender of human rights," emphasizes the letter signed by MPs to the Prime Minister. "We must use our friendship with the Chinese and Tibetan peoples to convene the negotiating process between them".

"It is about time we start supporting non-violent groups like the Tibetans who have fought for their survival through peaceful means for the past fifty (50) years" said Thubten Samdup, National President of the Canada Tibet Committee. "If the international community is serious about eradicating terrorism, then it needs to show that peaceful struggles will be actively supported".

Today the Canada Tibet Committee launched a new website for its "Tibet-China Negotiation Campaign" (www.tibet.ca/tibetchinanegotiation) which documents developments in efforts to bring Chinese authorities and representatives of the Dalai Lama to the negotiation table and the opportunity for Canada to take action on the Tibet issue.

The Dalai Lama himself will make his fourth visit to Canada next spring, which includes Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto, as part of his effort to build international support for the campaign. His visit to Ottawa from April 21-24, 2004 will include a public event with local singer Alanis Morissette and meetings with Members of Parliament, non-governmental organizations and academics.

Several prominent Canadians are lending their names in support of Dalai Lama's visit objective. The "advisory committee" for the Dalai Lama's visit to Ottawa includes Canadian singer Alanis Morissette, former leader of the NDP, Ed Broadbent and Canadian Labour Congress President, Ken Georgetti. The full list of advisory committee members will be released at the press conference as well as at www.tibet.ca/dalailamavisit2004

Contact: Tenzin Dargyal, Office: 514-487-0665, Cell: 514-235-0205

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