Letter to Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
March 14, 2008
Ms Louise Arbour
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
14 March 2008
Dear Ms Arbour,
We the undersigned, representatives of 153 Tibetan organisations and
Tibet Support Groups around the word, are writing to you in great
concern about the situation in Tibet, to appeal to you to take urgent
action to prevent the situation from worsening.
Reports from Lhasa today describe how attempts by Buddhist monks from
Ramoche Temple to participate in further peaceful protest against
Chinese rule have led to violent clashes with police. Simultaneously,
we have learned of large-scale protests going on in Labrang, Amdo
(Kanlho "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture", Gansu Province); an
unprecedented situation which demonstrates the scale of Tibetan
dissatisfaction with Chinese rule. The British Embassy in Beijing has
confirmed "many injuries" in Lhasa, and in the last few moments two
news agencies have reported that several people have been killed.
The protests began on Monday 10th March, with a small, peaceful
demonstration in Lhasa's Barkhor Square by a group of around 15 monks.
Shortly after their immediate detention, up to 500 monks from Drepung
Monastery marched in support, but large numbers of them were arrested.
Over the course of the next three days, monks from the other major
Tibetan monasteries of Sera and Ganden also protested, despite a
crackdown which involved the monasteries concerned being surrounded by
thousands of soldiers and armed police. Radio Free Asia reported that
two Drepung monks had attempted suicide in the aftermath, and are in a
China's policies in Tibet are largely responsible for this situation;
its renewal of a patriotic re-education campaign and its stepping up
of anti-Dalai Lama rhetoric, and its economic policies that have led
to the increasing marginalisation of Tibetans. Furthermore, there is
widespread understanding that China has engaged in further suppression
of rights prior to the 2008 Olympic Games. Tibetans are also aware
that the Dalai Lama's attempts at dialogue to reach a peaceful
solution for Tibet are not being responded to in good faith by China.
We appeal to you to make urgent contact with the Chinese authorities,
urging them to use restraint in the current situation, to allow
peaceful protest by Tibetans inside Tibet in accordance with
international law, and to provide you with an explanation of their
actions in Tibet. We also ask you to issue a public statement of your
concern about the crisis in Tibet.
Furthermore, we appeal to you to send a fact-finding mission or
representative from your office to Lhasa with all speed so that more
information can be obtained about the situation and how it developed.
Canada Tibet Committee and the International Tibet Support Network