Act meaningfully against China policies: Tibet to US

Tashi Namgyal Khamshitsang

Tashi Namgyal Khamshitsang in an undated file photo. Photo courtesy of Tibetan Association of Washington

By Lalit K Jha | PTI

WASHINGTON, US, 1 September 2012

A member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile has asked the US to take meaningful action against the oppressive Chinese policies in Tibet during the forthcoming meetings of the UN Human Rights Council.

Writing to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2 September launch of the “Flame of Truth” relay in Washington, Tashi N Khamshitsang, a member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, said the Tibetans in Tibet and in exile are struggling for international attention against Chinese oppression.

“We have not given up. But we cannot allow the terrible sacrifice of so many young Tibetans go answered. At this critical moment, we appeal for your help,” Tashi said, asking the US to “take meaningful action against the oppressive Chinese policies in Tibet”.

“We ask that US officials support vigorous engagement between mandate holders and Chinese authorities, including pressing for visits to Tibet by Special Rapporteurs, as much of Tibet is effectively closed to outside observers,” Tashi said.

“We understand that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay is negotiating a trip to China and we urge you to support the inclusion of Tibet in her itinerary,” Tashi wrote.

As of today, 51 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest China’s restrictive policies in Tibet, many calling for freedom for Tibet and return of the Dalai Lama, he said.

Identical letters have been written to Hillary Clinton and the leadership of the US House of Representatives and the Senate.

The letter comes ahead of the launch of the US leg of the Flame of Truth Relay, which started from Kerala on 6 July, with the purpose of carrying the message of the Tibetans to the world — including 49 Tibetan self-immolations since February 2009 — and to urge an appropriate response from the United Nations to the current crisis.

The North America leg of the relay begins in two segments from Washington DC and Ottawa on 2 September, the 52nd anniversary of Tibetan Democracy Day, which commemorates the first election of a representative body in Tibet’s history — the Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies — instituted in exile on 2 September 1960.

The torch will pass through major North American cities.

As part of the Flame of Truth initiative the Tibetan-Parliament-in-Exile has urged that the United Nations must discuss the issue of Tibet and send an independent international team to investigate the situation in Tibet.

The United Nations must take special responsibility to ensure that the basic aspirations of the Tibetans inside Tibet are fulfilled, it said.

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