Montreal, February 28, 2001: The International Tibet Support Network (ITSN) turns its attention to Ottawa this week, where Canadian officials are meeting with human rights organizations to discuss strategy at the upcoming meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The Canada Tibet Committee, as an ITSN member organization, is urging Canada to return to its pre-1997 policy of co-sponsoring a UNCHR resolution on China.
"Sponsoring a resolution on China is not only justified, but vital to demonstrate a broad base of support internationally for human rights in Tibet" said Carole Samdup, co-chair of the ITSN. "Dialogue and a resolution must not be mutually exclusive, and the deteriorating situation in Tibet has shown us that the dialogue-only policy isn't working."
International pressure for return to a resolution is growing. This week, US President George Bush announced his government's intention to table a China resolution at the UNCHR. The US move comes just days after Chinese and EU officials met in Stockholm as part of the EU's bilateral human rights dialogue with China.
The EU's General Affairs Council admitted in January that "dialogue is an acceptable option only if progress is achieved on the ground." The General Council statement mirrors a strongly-worded report by a UK parliamentary committee which concluded that the dialogue policy with China had not achieved any "meaningful results".
A coalition of Canadian non-governmental organizations has submitted a request to Bill Graham, Chair of Canada's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade to hold a similar hearing in Ottawa before the UNCHR session, in order to evaluate the progress of Canada's bilateral human rights dialogue with China.
The ITSN is a network of over 100 non-governmental organizations from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East working towards greater respect for human rights in Tibet through collaboration on international campaigns. The UNCHR will hold its 57th session from March 19-April 27 in Geneva.
For more information: Carole Samdup, 514-487-0665
For additional background:
See Presentation to the Department of Foreign Affairs: NGO Consultations for the UN Commission on Human Rights, February 2001. http://www.tibet.ca