Canada Tibet Committee
International Human Rights Day
HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS ESCALATES INSIDE TIBET
Canada Tibet Committee appeals to Canadian Prime Minister
Montreal, December 10, 2012 – As the world marks International Human Rights Day, the human rights crisis in Tibet continues to escalate. In the past year, at least 81 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet bringing to 94 the total number of self-immolations since 2011. Their demands are clear - freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
In a letter sent this week (below), the Canada Tibet Committee has appealed directly to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, asking that Canada take the lead in creating a multilateral forum through which new diplomatic actions to address the crisis in Tibet can be implemented.
“The increased use of self-immolation as an expression of resistance is a clear sign that China’s policies in Tibet have been an abysmal failure,” said Carole Samdup, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee. “After six decades of Chinese rule, it is time for the international community to accompany its quiet diplomacy with a stronger approach for Tibet.”
December 10 also marks 25 years since the creation of the Canada Tibet Committee following the 1987 uprising in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa. The anniversary will be marked by series of events encouraging Canadians to Stand Up for Tibet.
Carole Samdup (English): 514-487-0665
Eva Cirnu (français): 514-632-6635
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Letter to Stephen Harper
December 6, 2012
Dear Prime Minister,
As Canadians commemorate International Human Rights Day, the situation inside Tibet is deteriorating rapidly. During the past 12 months, at least 79 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against China’s harsh policies, 28 in November alone. Their demands are simple – political freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland.
Today, the Canada Tibet Committee appeals to you and to your government to stand up for Tibet. Mr. Prime Minister, your government has been a stalwart supporter of the Tibetan cause and in 2006 it awarded honourary citizenship to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a demonstration of that support. Now the Tibetan people need your help more than ever.
T Tibetan Canadians and their supporters across the country are asking that you urgently convene a taskforce to consider the following three recommendations:
- Canada should play a leadership role in efforts to establish an international “contact group” or other form of multilateral mechanism designed explicitly to address the human rights crisis in Tibet. This could be an initiative of Canada’s Embassy in Beijing or its Mission in Geneva. The purpose of the contact group would be to coordinate pressure from western governments and thereby increase their influence on the Government of China;
- Canada should renew efforts to send Canadian diplomats to Tibetan areas where most of the self-immolations have taken place, while at the same time initiating efforts to establish a permanent diplomatic presence in Tibet. Until this objective can be achieved, Canada should increase Embassy resources to more closely monitor the situation in Tibet, to verify the security of self-immolators’ families, and to ensure that adequate medical treatment is provided to those self-immolators who have survived their action;
- Canada should press China to allow human rights monitors into Tibet as requested by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in her public statement dated November 2, 2012. Permission for human rights monitors must be accompanied by access for foreign journalists to the Tibet Autonomous Region as well as to Tibetan areas in Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai, and Yunnan.
Canada has a proud history of human rights promotion around the world. As we mark International Human Rights Day 2012, Canadian support for human rights in Tibet has never been so important. On behalf of the Canada Tibet Committee membership across Canada, I urge you to act now so that the ultimate sacrifice being made by so many Tibetans is not made in vain.