Statement by Members of the European Parliament on the International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2015
Brussels, 10 December 2015 – As the world celebrates Human Rights Day today, we, Members of the European Parliament, would like to express our concern regarding the deteriorating situation of human rights in Tibet.
Today, the oppressive crackdown on freedom of religion by the Chinese authorities and the shrinking environment for practicing Buddhism in Tibet are particularly alarming. China’s criminal law is being abused to persecute Tibetans and Buddhists, whose religious activities are equated with ‘separatism’, and the Chinese government has adopted a more pervasive approach to ‘patriotic education’, including measures to micromanage Tibetan Buddhist monastic affairs.
We are deeply worried by the endemic use of torture in Tibet and by the denial of access to medical care for prisoners, including late monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who died in Chinese captivity. Despite Chinese official assertions that China’s has adopted measures against torture, there are no indications of investigations into allegations of torture and mistreatment, let alone into cases of Tibetans who have been subjected to arbitrary detentions.
The recently drafted law on ‘counter-terrorism’, which facilitates the declaration of resistance to Chinese authorities as an act of terrorism, is just another expression of the broad range of suppression and human rights violations the Tibetans have to face in their own lands.
This deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet has led to the self-immolations of at least 143 Tibetans since 2009. We deplore that the Chinese government, instead of addressing the causes which led to these extreme acts of political protest, has recently responded with even more pervasive actions by punishing those allege
dly ‘associated’ with self-immolators, including friends, families and even entire communities.
The Chinese authorities are continuing their hardline policies against the Tibetan people, rejecting the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way Approach’ which seeks neither independence nor separation but a genuine autonomy within the framework of the Constitution of the PRC. We believe that this hardline approach, including the rejection of political dialogue between the parties, can only be counter-productive and damaging in the long-term, as it undermines chances of achieving a genuine stability and peaceful cohabitation.
Finally, as the COP21 talks are coming to an end tomorrow, we wish to express our concern regarding the degradation of the environment in Tibet. The Tibetan plateau is indeed warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world. The so called ‘third pole’ is about to melt, causing unforeseeable consequences for the global climate. The intensive mining that is taking place in the area, as well as the Chinese policies of forceful resettlement of the nomads are causing the desertification of the grassland and the pollution of the rivers, with devastating implications for Tibet, denominated as ‘the water tower of Asia’ with the sources of Asia’s six largest rivers.
In light of these concerns, we urge the Chinese government to:
- Respect the freedom of expression, association and religion of the Tibetan people, and release all those detained for the mere reason of having exercised these rights;
- Conduct impartial investigations on all allegations of torture and ill-treatment, in particular those resulting into deaths, and bring those responsible for such acts to justice;
- Re-inter as soon as possible into a meaningful and result oriented dialogue between representatives of the Chinese government and of the Dalai Lama.
The Members of the TIG