September 7, 2010
On the occasion of Tibetan Democracy Day, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Tibetan Democracy, the International Network for Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT) urged the People’s Republic of China “to consider the Memorandum for Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People of November 2008 and the Note on the Memorandum as a basis for substantive discussion leading towards positive, meaningful change in Tibet…». In this regard, INPaT decided to organise in 2011 an “international parliamentary event on the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process including suggestions on how to agree and implement the Memorandum”.
The INPaT Bylakuppe statement was issued following a meeting of Second INPaT Working Group which was attended by 17 Parliamentarians from 13 countries. This morning 15 parliamentatrians addressed the celebration of the Tibetan Democracy Day in the presence of H. H. the Dalai Lama. Expressing her total support to the cause of Tibet, Ms. Santosh Vinita Kalyan of the Democratic Alliance Party of South Africa, informed the gathering of more than 20,000 Tibetans that she flatly refused China’s telephone-call asking her not to attend the Tibetan celebration.
INPaT applauded “His Holiness the Dalia Lama and the Tibetan Parliament in Exile for having reformed the Tibetan political system by implementing democratic institutions in exile and providing social services in health, education, welfare, and livelihoods of Tibetans.”
“We were honoured to represent INPaT Members as the Tibetan Refugee Community celebrated this morning and decided that it was crucial for us to speak out clearly by congratulating them and their leadership on the achievements of their democratic governance since we seldom acknowledge these kinds of best practices,” said Mr. Thomas Mann, Co-Chair of the INPaT Working Group and the President of the Tibet Inter Group in the European Parliament.
In an unprecendented decision, INPaT called upon the Election Commission of the Tibetan Government in Exile “to invite international election monitoring entities to observe the 2011 parliamentary and Kalon Tripa elections.” INPaT Co-Chairs briefed His Holiness the Dalai Lama about the recommendation during a luncheon meeting today. As a follow-up, the Co-Chairs also held an informal exchange with Mr. Jampel Choesang, the Tibetan Election Commissioner.
While calling upon National Parliaments to increase their coordination and synergies on Tibet, INPaT condemned China for committing “gross and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Tibet” and called upon China “to implement the recommendations on Tibet by the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies, including by the Committee Against Torture (CAT) and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).”
The Fifth World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet (WPCT), held in Rome in November 2009, resolved to form a network of parliamentarians for Tibet (INPaT) to facilitate coordination among parliamentarians and parliamentary groups in order to effectively advance Tibet issues in a concerted manner.
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Contact person: Tsering Jampa, INPaT Secretariat Coordinator
International Network for Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT) statement on the occasion of the 50thAnniversary of Tibetan Democracy Day and the establishment of Tibetan Institutions in Exile
2nd September 2010
INPaT would like to congratulate the Government and people of India for hosting the Tibetan Refugee Community and its democratic institutions and for its continued support to preserve and promote their distinct identity and culture.
A. 133 Members of 33 Parliaments took part in the 5th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet (18/19 November 2009, Rome) adopted the “Rome Declaration on Tibet”[i] and decided to set up an International Network for Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT),
B. A working group composed of representatives of the European Parliament, and of 5 Parliaments (Australia, Canada, India, Iceland, Italy) was established to represent all INPaT members and held its first meeting at the European Parliament (Brussels, 2nd June 2010) and since launched several political initiatives on Tibet,
C. 2nd September 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Democratic institutions in exile following the flight of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (March 1959) and 80,000 refugees from Tibet[ii],
D. During the past 50 years, Tibetans have set-up democratic foundations for their institutions as illustrated by the promulgation of the Draft Constitution of Tibet (10 March, 1963), by the implementation of increased democratic governance through an empowered parliament (14 June, 1991), by the promulgation of the Charter of Tibetans-in-Exile and since 2001 by the election of Kalon Tripa (Chief of cabinet) directly by Tibetans outside Tibet,
E. The second meeting of the INPaT Working Group took place on the margins of the celebration of the Tibetan Democracy Day in Bylakuppe organized by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile with the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
F. In order to improve the situation of Tibetans, the Central Tibetan Administration decided to revitalize the settlements by making them economically and socially viable focusing on five areas (education, employment and workforce, agriculture, health and infrastructure) as outlined in the “Revitalization Plan of Tibetan Settlements”,
G. The human rights environment continues to deteriorate in Tibet and harsh repressive policies of the Chinese authorities undermine human rights and fundamental freedom, specially the threats on the preservation of the cultural heritage of Tibetans as widely reported by UN human rights experts, governments, think tanks and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs),
H. On 30 August 2010, on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, INPaT, while being deeply concerned by the enforced disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama (Gendhun Choekyi Nyima), appealed to President Hu Jintao to receive a joint fact finding mission by three UN Human Rights experts to ascertain the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama of Tibet, and his family members,
I. A vast majority of Tibetan nomads have been forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands into concrete housing complexes which is eliminating the ancient nomadic life style and their unique culture,
J. Annually around 2,500 to 3,500 Tibetans make the dangerous crossing through the Himalayas into Nepal, and from there to India, but since the 2008 Uprising in Tibet the number dramatically diminished due to intensified restrictions on the freedom of movement in Tibet and pressure exerted on Nepal,
K. Abuses of natural environmental resources, including extensive mining operations, are seriously impacting upon the environmental balance on the Tibetan plateau which could affect billions of people in Asia. The involvement and experience of Tibetans is integral to combat the impact of changing climate,
L. On 8 August 2010 an unprecedented mudslide avalanche in Drugchu, a Tibetan area of Gansu province demolished a large section of the town and killed more than 1,000 people because of heavy rainfall, complete deforestation of the region and the environmental mismanagement by the Chinese Authorities despite expert opinion warnings,
M. Since 2002, nine rounds of Sino-Tibetan dialogue between the Envoys of H.H. the Dalai Lama and Representatives of the Chinese Government did not result in any mutually agreeable solution on the Tibet issue,
N. The Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People, produced at the request of the Chinese Government and presented by the Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the eighth round of talks in November 2008, which was rejected by the Chinese Government, respects the principles underpinning the Chinese Constitution and the territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China,
O. The Envoys of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama formally presented an additional Note on the Memorandum to their Chinese counterparts during the ninth round of dialogue in Beijing in January 2010 which addressed the principal concerns and objections raised by the Chinese Government regarding the substance of the Memorandum on issues such as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of People’s Republic of China, the authority of its Constitution and of the Chinese Government,
P. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his steadfast commitment to non-violence and consistent efforts to find a mutually beneficial solution through dialogue on the basis of the Middle Path policy of not seeking the independence of Tibet,
Q. Tibet has been characterized by a high level of investment by the central government predominantly channeled toward infrastructure and subsidies but the economic development strategies tend to exacerbate Tibet’s heavy dependence on such funding for its development, specially by the total lack of engagement with the Tibetans to get their prior consent,
R. The Fifth Tibet Work Forum, held from 18 to 20 on January 2010, attended by more than 300 of China’s top Party, government and military leaders, including President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, for the first time included officials from Tibetan autonomous areas outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, to discuss improvement of the livelihood of Tibetans specifically in public services, such as education, medical services, and environmental protection,
S. In the EU 2010 budget, the European Parliament expressed its support for Tibetans by inserting a provision in the thematic program "Investing in people" which advocated support for civil society projects for Tibetans in and outside Tibet and unanimously reiterated its support for the appointment of an EU Special Representative on Tibet,
T. The Government and the Congress of the United States of America have adopted several landmark initiatives on Tibet such as the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, which includes the designation of a Special Coordinator for Tibet and welcoming the coordinator August 2010 report on Sino-Tibetan negotiations, while appreciating the award of the Congressional Gold Medal to H.H. the Dalai Lama,
1. Calls upon members of the European Parliament and of National as well as Regional, Local Parliaments, Cities and Municipalities worldwide to increase their coordination and synergies on Tibet, including joining and supporting the activities of INPaT;
2. Calls upon the members of Community of Democracies to use both bilateral and multilateral channels to bring an end to the human rights crisis in Tibet;
3. Condemns the gross and systematic violations of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms in Tibet and calls upon China to implement the recommendations on Tibet by the UN Human Rights Treaty bodies including the Committee Against Torture (CAT) and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD);
On the Tibetan democratic institutions in exile
4. Applauds His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Parliament in Exile for having reformed the Tibetan political system by implementing democratic institutions in exile and providing social services in health, education, welfare and livelihoods of the Tibetans;
5. Calls for concrete and active support by Governments and Parliaments to the Tibetan refugee community including new refugees, many of whom are children, in the areas of humanitarian aid, education, health, the preservation of their cultural heritage, employment and gender issues as outlined in the Central Tibetan Administration’s «Revitalization Plan of Tibetan Settlements»;
6. Commends leaders who received His Holiness the Dalai Lama including Heads of States and Governments, Foreign and other Ministers and calls upon the European Union to agree to a minimal code of conduct on the treatment of the Dalai Lama;
7. Calls upon the Election Commission of Tibetan Government in Exile to invite international election monitoring entities to observe the 2011 parliamentary and Kalon Tripa elections;
On the Sino-Tibetan dialogue and the Tibetan Memorandum on genuine autonomy
8. Urges the Chinese Government to consider the Memorandum for Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People of November 2008 and the Note as a basis for substantive discussion leading towards positive, meaningful change in Tibet as these policy documents are consistent with the principles outlined in the Constitution and laws of the People’s Republic of China;
9. Calls on Chinese authorities to desist from wrongly accusing His Holiness the Dalai Lama of being as a “separatist” and instead work with him to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Tibetan issue based on the Memorandum, including by inviting H.H. the Dalai Lama to China and Tibet;
10. Supports the suggestion of the Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the ninth round of talks to overcome differences of interpretation on the situation in Tibet through “common effort to study the actual reality on the ground, in the spirit of seeking truth from facts”;
11. Affirms its intention to organize in 2011 an international parliamentary event on the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process including suggestions on how to agree and implement the Memorandum;
12. Supports the appointment of an European Union Special Representative on Tibet with the goal of reaching a common position among Member States to agree upon a common approach for the success of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process;
On development and humanitarian aid in Tibet
13. Calls the Chinese Government to implement the recommendations of the Fifth Tibet Work Forum in order to improve the lives of the Tibetan people, especially in rural areas, and bring about an end to their economic marginalization, by directly involving Tibetans in development programs;
14. Calls upon Governments, the European Commission, UN development programs and others to support projects that provide assistance to Tibetan communities in particular in the fields of economic, social and civil society culture as encouraged by the 2010 EU Budget and also recommended in the Tibet Report of the European Economic and Social Committee;
15. Encourages governments to explore multinational mechanisms to work collaboratively on the challenges of climate change in Tibet and on the issue of deforestation, including with the direct participation of Tibetan stakeholders;
16. Calls on Governments to establish a Tibet focal point at the embassies in Beijing that would, among other responsibilities, be in charge of monitoring the implementation and progresses of development projects funded by them in Tibet.
[i] www.savetibet.org/media-center/tibet-news/rome-declaration-tibet / The term Tibet covers the 3 provinces of U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo.
[ii] The total number of refugees today is around 150.000 – most of them are located in India, Nepal and Bhutan