European parlaimentarians meeting on Human rights in Tibet
Bern, 14 January 2001
“Members of Parliament of the European Parliament and of most European countries, including the countries of Central Europe and the Baltic states, gathered in the Parliament of the Swiss Confederation in Bern on January 13 and 14, at the invitation of the Swiss Parliamentary group on Tibet to consider the grave situation in Tibet. “This meeting represents a new level of action and cooperation among parliamentarians throughout Europe,” Dr. Ruth Gonseth, President of the Swiss Parliamentary Group for Tibet, the host of the meeting, remarked. Mr. Thomas Mann, President of the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament said, “The adoption of a concrete plan of action to censure the Chinese oppression in Tibet at the United Nations as well as in all our parliaments, should send a message to the Chinese authorities and to the Tibetan victims of human rights violations.”
After extensive discussions among themselves and with senior representatives of the Foreign Minister of Switzerland and of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, who explained their respective positions, the participating Members of Parliament agreed on a coordinated action plan to press for active European sponsorship and support for the passage of a resolution on deteriorating human rights situation in China and, especially, Tibet at the 57th United Nations Commission on Human Rights which will meet in Geneva in March and April of this year.
The parliamentarians were alarmed at the current implementation by the Chinese government of policies to destroy the rich and distinct Tibetan cultural, religious and national identity. It appears that the Chinese government believes that only the disappearance of this unique civilisation can result in the complete subjugation of Tibetans. “In Tibet, people refer to a second Cultural Revolution,” explained T.C. Tethong, Minister of Information and International Relations of the Tibetan Government in Exile. ” The extent of this wave of repression is not yet fully understood by the international community.”
Tibet was occupied and illegally annexed by the PRC from 1949/50. In recent years the Chinese government has encouraged the transfer of large numbers of Chinese settlers into Tibet to permanently change that country’s population. The Tibetan people continue to resist the Chinese colonisation despite harsh repression.
The participants to the Bern conference will activate parliaments throughout Europe, including the European Parliament to promote a more effective and coordinated European policy to press China to respect human rights and start serious substantive negotiations with the Dalai Lama without pre-conditions. The Members of Parliament believe that such negotiations are in the benefit of both China and Tibet and are the only way to resolve the five decade long tragedy on the ‘roof of the world.’
Dr. Ruth Gonseth ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 0041 61 921 0941
Mr. Thomas Mann ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 0032 2 284 5318
Mr. T. C. Tethong & Mrs. Chungdak Koren ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 0041 79 414 3649 (mobile)