Aug 05, 2014

Tibet: Visa Bans For Human Rights Violators

A Tibet advocacy group in Washington DC has encouraged the US Government to invoke visa bans for Chinese officials who commit human right abuses in China and Tibet as a preventive measure.

Below is an article published by :

The International Campaign for Tibet, a prominent Tibet advocacy group based in Washington DC, has urged the US government to include Chinese leaders among those individuals restricted to enter its territory.

Building on recent United States travel bans imposed on human rights violators, the group urged the U.S. government to “act to restrict visa entry to Chinese officials complicit in human rights abuses in China and Tibet.”

“The U.S. government can send a clear message: if Chinese officials violate the human rights of the Chinese and Tibetan people, they can’t visit the United States,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the group.

“There is momentum to extend visa bans to human rights violators, and there is no reason China, the world’s largest abuser, should not be included. We value the freedom to travel as we value fundamental human rights. Visa bans are a tool that governments can use to discourage officials who would violate such rights.”

The US government announced travel restrictions to the United States by some government officials from Venezuela allegedly responsible for human rights abuses. “With this step we underscore our commitment to holding accountable individuals who commit human rights abuses. While we will not publicly identify these individuals because of visa record confidentiality, our message is clear: those who commit such abuses will not be welcome in the United States,” US State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf said.

US President Obama issued an Executive Order that, in part, denies visa entry to “perpetrators of serious human rights abuses or humanitarian law” in 2011. Visa bans are applied to violated human rights in Uganda, Iran, Burma and North Korea, among other countries.

A bill to promote access to Tibet, where China has imposed travel restrictions for foreigners, was introduced in June[2014] in the US House of Representatives by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA). The bill, H.R. 4851, is called the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. The bill, ICT said, gives leverage to the US to promote the ability of US citizens to travel to Tibet.

“The McGovern-Pitts bill is simple: if China won’t let us into Tibet, then their key officials can’t get into the United States,” said Mr. Mecacci. “This bill reminds Beijing that it is not biding by the principle of diplomatic reciprocity. I hope the House of Representatives acts on this important legislation.”