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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?"

Human rights report card condemns Canada's China strategy

March 08, 1999

Montreal: The Canada Tibet Committee will release its ' Report Card ' on Canada's two year old bilateral human rights dialogue with China. The release, which calls for suspension and parliamentary review of the dialogue, coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Lhasa Uprising on March 10, 1959. The Lhasa Uprising resulted in 10,000 Tibetan deaths and the exile of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and 85,000 refugees to India.

The report will be released during a press conference commemorating the Lhasa Uprising :

Press Conference : March 10, 1999, 11 :00 am. Charles Lynch Press Conference Room 130-S Centre Block, House of Commons, Parliament Hill

Participants : Thubten Samdup, Tenzin Jimpa : Canada Tibet Committee Senator Consiglio DiNino, Svend Robinson, MP Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet Warren Allmand, President of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Developments

"After 40 years of exile, Tibetans must face the fact that their struggle is threatened by western governments such as Canada, which are willing to trade human rights for market access." said Thubten Samdup, National President of the Canada Tibet Committee. "Canada's bilateral human rights dialogue with China has failed to protect the human rights of the Tibetan people. Human rights abuse inside Tibet has increased since the bilateral dialogue was initiated in April 1997."

In January, the Canada Tibet Committee joined the Canadian Labour Congress, Amnesty International, the Toronto Association for Democracy in China and PEN Canada in calling for suspension of the bilateral deal with China until a full parliamentary review can be held to evaluate its effectiveness. The groups also requested that the Government of Canada return to supporting a China resolution at the United Nations'Commission of Human Rights set to begin later this month.

Last week the US Senate agreed unanimously to make the same recommendations to the US administration. A subsequent state department report confirmed that China is in reverse on rights.

"This government should be reminded that its policy affects people's lives", said Samdup. "It should be held accountable for its policy decisions and the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade is the right body to do that".

Tibetans and their supporters will be holding demonstrations across the country on March 10, in commemoration of the Lhasa Uprising. In Ottawa protesters will deliver a petition to the Department of Foreign Affairs before marching to the Chinese Embassy.

For copies of the Report Card or more information : visit http://www.tibet.ca

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