Sep 22, 2008

Tibet: UNPO Seminar on Population Transfer

Active ImageA UNPO seminar hosted in Estonia gathers politicians and activists to discuss and compare population transfer.

Below is an article published by

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), together with the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and the Institute for the Rights of People (IRP), hosted a landmark conference Friday [19 September 2008] in Tallinn, Estonia.

The conference titled 'Population Transfer from Baltic and Tibetan Perspectives' was attended among others by Mr. Aleksei Lotman MP, Chairman of the Riigikogu Tibet Support Group, Dr. Linnart Mäll, Chairman of the Institute of the Rights for People, and Mr. Marino Busdachin, General Secretary of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and Ngawang Choephel Drakmagyapon of the Tibetan UN Advocacy Group.

The conference addressed different aspects of population transfer, a press release issued by UNPO said.

Renowned dissident Mr. Enn Tarto MP and Dr. Olaf Mertelsmann of the University of Tartu recounted their experience of the Baltic States’ Soviet era population transfer, while Mr. Mart Laar MP focused on the impact of population transfer on Tibet.

Discussing the role of international law and population transfer was introduced by Senator Marco Perduca and conducted by Mr. Ngawang Choephel Drakmargyapon.

Comparing the experiences of the Baltic States to the current situation in Chinese-occupied Tibet, the seminar recognized many commonalities in the threats to cultural, traditional, religious and national identity faced by the Baltic States and, today in Tibet respectively. The seminar welcomed the contributions made by participants as well as members of the UNPO Presidency, which have broadened the discussion of population transfer while recommending the need for a comprehensive global assessment of the impact resulting from population transfer and implantation of settlers.

In expressing its alarm at the lack of any serious international attention being given to the subject of population transfer in Tibet, Eastern Turkestan and Inner Mongolia and elsewhere in the world, the seminar decided to convene an international conference to examine the contemporary forms of population transfer, their different impacts on humanity as a whole and the need for stronger international safeguards to counter it.

The proposed international conference will be convened next year [2009], tasked with bringing together legal and expert opinions, testimonies from peoples threatened by population transfer as well as policy makers, with the objective of including the launch of a global campaign to counter population transfer and its manifestations.

The seminar expressed deep concerns about the threats to the survival of the Tibetan people as result of China’s policies. The Participants fully shared the opinion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama that a form of “cultural genocide” is taking place in Tibet, UNPO press release said.

The seminar called upon the international community to urge the Chinese authorities to immediately halt the influx of Chinese settlers into Tibet and recommends to the European Union that this matter is raised as a priority in the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue.

The seminar also precedes the fifth session of the UNPO Presidency, which began Saturday [19 September 2008]. The UNPO Presidency currently comprises members representing Abkhazia, Crimean Tatars, East Turkestan, Khmer Krom, Mapuche, Montagnards, Ogoni, Sindh, Somaliland, Southern Cameroons, Tibet and Balochistan.

A documentary film ‘Jigdrel - Leaving Fear Behind’ - was screened at the seminar. The film was clandestinely shot by Tibetans from inside Tibet to bring Tibetan voices to the Beijing Olympic Games. The filmmakers were arrested soon after sending their tapes out, and are currently under detention.