US Special Coordinator, His Holiness’ Special Envoy Visit Hunger Strikers
New York, 30 April: Joining the growing chorus of international appeal for the discontinuation of the Tibetan hunger strike in New York, Paula Dobriansky, US State Department’s Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, said, “You have my personal assurance that we will continue to work in international fora, including the United Nations, with whomever will stand with us to promote human rights and other Tibetan issues”.
She promised Washington’s “highest priority” to Tibet when it resumes bi-lateral human rights dialogue with Beijing, and said President Bush continues to remain committed to urging China to resolve Tibetan issues through negotiations.
“Now, before you suffer serious and perhaps irreversible health problems, I strongly encourage you to assess and recognize your achievements and to discontinue the strike,” Dobriansky said in a message dated 29 April.
Many of the concerns raised in the hunger strikers’ demands and the open letter to the UN Secretary General had been represented by the US Government, she said, citing President Bush’s decision to sponsor a China resolution at the 60th session of the UN Human Rights Commission as an example.
Beijing, Dobriansky said, had failed to live up to the commitment made to the US Assistant secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor that it would conduct a higher court review of the death sentences of Lobsang Dhondup and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.
This and “the continued detention of Tibetan political prisoners; and the lack of religious freedom in Tibet, including as exhibited in the case of the young Panchen Lama-all issues cited in your demands-were among the reasons” that spurred the US decision sponsor a China resolution.
China’s procedural wrangling may have prevented the US resolution from coming to a vote at the Human Rights Commission, but it has by no means diminished “our commitment to promoting greater respect for the human rights of the Tibetan people”, Dobriansky went on to say.
Dobriansky’s message was handed to each of the hunger strikers by Kasur Lodi Gyari, who in his turn made a strong personal request to end the fast in response to the call of “relevant authorities of the United Nations, US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Paula Dobriansky, representatives of governments and the international community”.
“I am deeply concerned about your health situation and hope that we can find a solution whereby we can all continue to work for the welfare of the Tibetan people,” Lodi Gyari sad in a written message he handed to each of the three hunger strikers.
A report by OoT, New York