Jun 14, 2012

Tibet: Rights “Not an Optional Extra”

The European Parliament adopted a resolution today [14 June 2012] drawing attention to the human rights situation in Tibet.  While this issue has been raised before in the framework of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue further steps are clearly needed to move on from rhetoric to genuine dialogue and commitment.

Below is a press release issued by the ALDE Group:


Kristiina Ojuland, (Estonian Reform Party, Estonia) commented "There is an ongoing human rights crisis in Tibet, which manifests itself in arrests, torture and political imprisonment; restricted freedom of expression, association and belief as well as in the marginalisation of Tibetan identity, language and culture. Such repressive policies have provoked the reported self-immolations of 38 Tibetans since 2009. The gravity of the situation calls for greater involvement of the EU.  We therefore strongly urge the High Representative to appoint a special coordinator for Tibet in charge of advancing the human rights of the Tibetan people and encouraging constructive dialogue between the PRC and the Tibetan Government-in-exile. "

She continued "It has been repeatedly stressed that human rights are an integral part of the EU external policies, which is all the more reason for taking an exemplary   position in our relations with China, as they have remained the main obstacle so far. Human rights cannot be treated as an optional extra that can be scrapped, whenever they are in the way."

Edward McMillan Scott (Liberal Democrat, UK), Vice President of the European Parliament concluded  "This resolution on Tibet is especially timely given the European Tour the Dalai Lama is currently undertaking to spread his message of non-violence, dialogue and universal responsibility, particularly  to young people.   In recent years, the European Parliament has become the main mouthpiece for Tibet: for the Tibetans suppressed in their own country, for the Tibetan religion and for the Tibetan exiles scattered across the world. This is why the Chinese embassy in Brussels maintains 4 officials permanently monitoring the Parliament; we give a voice to the voiceless. It is only right that we continue to strengthen our support of this region, and that an EU special coordinator for Tibet is appointed, thereby sending a clear message to the Chinese government as well as the international community: chronic human rights abuses in Tibet will not be ignored."