Call for an independent commission of investigation

Press release

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) calls upon the United Nations to appoint an independent commission of investigation to enquire on the current crackdown in Tibet.

Yesterday, the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamshala (India) announced that at least 80 people have been killed on 14th March 2008 in Lhasa. Chinese officials reportedly demanded that the rioters surrender by midnight today. The official Xinhua press agency reports that at least 10 persons have been killed, mainly civilians.

Peaceful protests started in Lhasa on Monday 10 March, anniversary of the Tibetan uprising Day in 1959, when the Dalai-Lama had to seek refuge in India. The next day, the movement developed to the three main monasteries of Lhasa: Drepung, Ganden and Sera. Those monasteries have been surrounded by the army. The protests also extended to other parts of Tibet (notably the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan).

A curfew has reportedly been instated in Lhasa where on Friday, protests turned violent. An unknown number of protesters have been arrested.

“We strongly condemn the current repression of those large-scale protests. They reflect the dissatisfaction of the Tibetan people with the Chinese rule: violations of freedom of religion, restrictions on cultural rights, economic marginalization and hostile policy against Dalai-Lama”, said Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH.

FIDH calls upon the Chinese government to respect the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, to release people who have been arrested for the mere exercise of those rights, and to make sure that none of the persons arrested be subjected to torture or ill-treatments.

These violations have been extensively documented by the UN special procedures without any adequate political response from the members of the UN Human Rights Council.

Ahead of the Olympic Games of Beijing, FIDH calls upon the Chinese government to address the root-causes of the protests: only a genuine dialogue with the Dalai-Lama can bring about a peaceful solution to the increasing tensions in the province, in conformity with the Olympic Charter’s aims to “promote a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity”.

Press contact : Karine Appy + 33 1 43 55 14 12/ + 33 1 43 55 25 18

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