Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The UN finally dared speaking

The UN finally dared speaking and questioning China's Tibet Policy.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay sais: “I recognize Tibetans’ intense sense of frustration and despair which has led them to resort to such extreme means, but there are other ways to make those feelings clear.”
India is still very quiet on the issue.
It has not always been the case.
In 1965, India took a very strong stand at the UN. Here are some excerpts of the Indian Representative's remarks:
The United Nations General Assembly, Resolution 2079 (XX)
Remarks made in the United Nations General Assembly - 20th Session - 1394th Plenary Meeting. New York. UN Doc. A/PV.1394

Mr. Zakaria (India): As representatives are aware, for the past fifteen years the question of Tibet has been, from time to time, under the consideration of the United Nations. It was first raised here in 1950 at the fifth session of the General Assembly, but it could not be placed on the agenda. In fact, my country opposed its inclusion at that time because we were assured by China that it was anxious to settle the problem by peaceful means. However, instead of improving, the situation in Tibet began to worsen, and since then the question has come up several times before the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Our delegation participated in the discussion at the fourteenth session, in 1959, and although we abstained from voting we made it clear that, because of our close historical, cultural and religious ties with the Tibetans, we could not but be deeply moved and affected by what was happening in that region. I've hoped against hope that wiser counsel would prevail among the Chinese and that there would be an end to the sufferings of the people of Tibet.
However, the passage of time has completely belied our hopes. As the days pass, the situation becomes worse and cries out for the attention of all mankind. As we know, ever since Tibet came under the strangle-hold of China, the Tibetans have been subjected to a continuous and increasing ruthlessness which has few parallels in the annals of the world. In the name of introducing "democratic reforms" and of fighting a "counter-revolution", the Chinese have indulged in the worst kind of genocide and the suppression of a minority race.
To begin with, we in India were hopeful that, as contacts between the Chinese and the Tibetans under the changed set-up became closer and more intimate, a more harmonious relationship would emerge. In fact, in 1956, as a result of his long talks with Mr. Chou En-lai, the Chinese Premier, my late Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, felt confident that a mutually agreeable adjustment between the two peoples would be established. Even the Dalai Lama expressed a similar hope to our late Prime Minister, but, as subsequent events have proved, the Chinese never believed in living up to their assurances. They promised autonomy to Tibet and the safeguarding of its cultural and religious heritage and traditions but, as the International Commission of Jurists in its June 1959 report on Tibet has emphasized, they attempted, on the contrary: "to destroy the national, ethnical, racial and religious group of Tibetans as such by killing members of the group and by causing serious bodily and mental harm to members of the group."

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UN Speaks Out on Tibet
Radio Free Asia
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay appears on a TV screen at a United Nation Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Feb. 27, 2012.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on China on Friday to address the grievances of Tibetans amid reports of new security clampdowns, travel restrictions, and disruption of communication links in Tibetan areas as Beijing prepares for a major leadership transition next week.
At the same time, the U.N. human rights chief urged an end to the Tibetan self-immolation protests challenging Chinese rule in which at least 62 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze since February 2009.
“I recognize Tibetans’ intense sense of frustration and despair which has led them to resort to such extreme means, but there are other ways to make those feelings clear,” she said.
In her statement, believed to be among the most forceful by a top U.N. official in directly addressing the situation in Tibet, Pillay pointed to “reports of detentions and disappearances, of excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and curbs on the cultural rights of Tibetans.”
“I call on [China’s] government to respect the rights to peaceful assembly and expression, and to release all individuals detained for merely exercising these universal rights,” she said.
Cases cited by Pillay include the beating and imprisonment of a 17-year-old Tibetan girl who distributed flyers calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, along with other instances of Tibetans jailed for writing essays, making films, or sending information about events in Tibet to contacts outside the region.
Media access to Tibetan areas should be lifted, Pillay said, and “independent and impartial” monitors allowed to visit and report on the conditions they observe.
In addition, Pillay called on China to suspend the forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads and to review policies encouraging large-scale Han Chinese migration into ethnic Tibetan areas.
“Social stability in Tibet will never be achieved through heavy security measures and suppression of human rights,” Pillay said.
“Deep underlying issues need to be addressed."

Security clampdown
Meanwhile, Tibetan sources report that Chinese authorities have tightened restrictions on information flows and the movements of Tibetans during the lead-up to the Nov. 8 ruling Chinese Communist Party Congress in Beijing, at which a new group of national leaders will be chosen for the next ten years.
“Tibet has been virtually cut off from the rest of the world,” a Tibetan living in Sichuan province’s Kardze prefecture told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It began a few days ago,” he said.
“Usually, local Tibetans communicate among themselves using [the texting service] WeChat, but even this is now entirely blocked, and Tibetans can no longer use it to send messages within China.”
“The purpose of the blackout is to prevent the spread of news concerning possible protests in Tibet during the 18th Party Congress,” a second Tibetan source in Kardze said, also on condition he not be named.
“New military posts have been set up in areas where they weren’t present before,” the source said, referring probably to units of China’s paramilitary People’s Armed Police.
“Whether this new security presence is permanent isn’t clear, but all major towns and cities in Tibetan-inhabited areas have seen a buildup.”
Separately, a Tibetan living in the Tibet Autonomous Region reported tightened controls on the movements of Tibetans traveling to large cities like Chamdo and the regional capital Lhasa, noting that travelers are now frequently stopped at police checkpoints and required to present government identification papers.
“These restrictions are due to the opening of the 18th Party Congress,” he said, adding that “monks and nuns are especially bearing the brunt of this heavy security clampdown.”
Reported by Norbu Damdul and Soepa Gyatso for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English with additional reporting by Richard Finney.

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