Thursday, November 23, 2006

human rights watch Letter to Indian PM

nov 23rd, 2006

these human rights cottage industry guys very seldom say anything sensible. this may be one of those times.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Friends of Tibet

China-India: Letter to Indian Prime Minister about Upcoming Visit of Chinese

November 17, 2006

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

We write on the occasion of Chinese President Hu Jintao.s visit to India later
this month. We recognize that your administration has many urgent issues to
discuss with President Hu and his team. Nevertheless, we urge that you raise
China.s grim human rights record in its treatment of Tibetans during all your
meetings and public appearances. With the further deterioration of human rights
there, we ask that the issue be a priority during your meeting with President
Hu Jintao, and that all your public statements reflect your concerns.

You have recently reiterated India.s commitment to human rights and have
entered into a partnership with the US to promote democracy. Those commitments,
and India.s long history with Tibet, oblige India to do all it can to defend
the human rights of Tibetans. For decades, India has demonstrated that
commitment by hosting a large community and government-in-exile, including many
Tibetans fleeing political, religious, and socioeconomic repression. But the
situation inside Tibet is worsening, and your government.s deepening
relationship with China offers an unprecedented opportunity to press China for

We particularly draw your attention to the recent shooting on the China-Nepal
border. On September 30, the Chinese People.s Armed Police (PAP) shot dead a
17-year-old girl named Kelsang Namtso from Nagchu. At least one other Tibetan,
23-year-old Kunsang Namgyal from Kardze, was shot twice and arrested, and is
feared dead. The two were part of a group of 73 Tibetans who were attempting to
cross the border into Nepal through the 6,000-meter-high Nangpa Pass.
Survivors, once they reached New Delhi, said that there was no warning of any
kind and that the soldiers were shooting to kill. Witnesses reported seeing
Chinese soldiers marching at least 10 children and up to 20 adults, at least
one of whom appeared to be injured, down from Nangpa Pass later that day.
Forty-three people reached Kathmandu, Nepal, where the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) sheltered them at the Tibetan Refugee Transit
Centre (TRRC). The whereabouts of 32 members of the party, including 14
children, who did not reach Nepal, is still unclear.

We ask that you urge President Hu to permit an independent investigation into
the incident. In addition, the Chinese government should to allow an
international agency with expertise in the rights and well-being of children to
determine whether any of the 10 children reportedly apprehended by the border
guards were separated from their parents against their will and, in accordance
with the principle of the best interests of the child, to reunite them with
their families.

In addition, we draw your attention to escalating repression in Tibet. Tibetans
are increasingly concerned about the consequences for religious, cultural, and
socioeconomic freedoms following the July opening of the Lhasa-Qinghai
railroad, and by the recent appointment of the smallest number of Tibetans
since 1966 to powerful bodies such as the Lhasa City Party Committee. Protests
have erupted recently over apparently preferential treatment given in Lhasa to
ethnic Chinese university graduates, and Tibetan nomads are systematically
being forcibly resettled into urban areas where they cannot compete
economically with ethnic Chinese. Efforts to engage in public discussions of
such developments have resulted in the abrupt closure of websites. Such
developments may, among other consequences, lead to an increasing flow of
refugees to India. We hope that India will publicly reaffirm its commitments to
support them.

We also ask that all Indian officials reiterate their expectations that China
will abide by its commitments as it agreed to when it ratified the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in
2001, and signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) in 1998, and under domestic law, with respect to the treatment of

Finally, we urge you to uphold India.s own protections on free expression and
permit peaceful protests of President Hu.s visit. India.s decision to restrict
the free speech of activists who have stated their intention to protest
peacefully, and the Dharamsala police superintendent.s threat to deport
protestors, are shocking encroachments on basic human rights. If India is to be
taken seriously as a defender of human rights, these decisions must be reversed
immediately and publicly.

India has quietly shown its support for Tibetans. human rights in the past. It
is our hope that a more public demonstration from your government will make an
important contribution to securing those rights.

We appreciate your attention to these matters.


Brad Adams
Executive Director,
Asia Division, Human Rights Watch

Friends of Tibet, PO Box: 16674, Bombay 400050, India.
Friends of Tibet is a global movement to keep alive the issue of Tibet
through direct action. Our activities are aimed at ending China's
occupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Friends of
Tibet supports the continued struggle of the Tibetan people for
independence. To know more, visit:

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