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Tibetans Participate In Human Rights Summit in Geneva

March 11, 2010

Human Rights conference kicked off yesterday on
the sidelines of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva
Tenzin Samphel
Office of Tibet, Geneva
March 8, 2010

Geneva -- The Second Geneva Summit on Human
Rights, Tolerance and Democracy is being
organised jointly by over 25 human rights groups from across the globe.

The Tibetan Women's Association in Switzerland is
one of the organisers of the two-day conference
which started yesterday in Geneva. The conference
features political dissidents and activists from
Iran, China, Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma and Vietnam.

John Suarez of the Cuban democracy group,
Directorio, opened the session. Recalling the
spirit of the summit's co-chairs, Vaclav Havel
and Lech Walesa, he urged human rights defenders
to come together, brainstorm and collaborate.

Another Cuban dissident, Nestor Rodríguez
Lobaina, has been barred by the Cuban government
to attend the conference. "Yet, thanks to the
mobilization of international organizations and
civil society, you can contribute to making sure
democracies fulfill their responsibility to
humanity," said Isabel Rochat, Conseil d'Etat of
Geneva. "We may forgive but we will never forget.
That is the best response to indifference."

Speakers of the first panel titled "Rising
Powers, Rising Rights Compliance? Case Study of
China" included Ms. Rabi Kadeer, Uyghur activist,
Ms. Phuntsog Nyidron, former Tibetan political
prisoner and Mr.Yang Jianli, Chinese dissident
who shared their personal stories of suffering
and survival from brutal oppression of Chinese communist regime.

Called the "mother of the Uyghur nation," Rebiya
Kadeer spent six years in a Chinese prison after
standing up to the authoritarian Chinese
government. Her own sons are serving decade long
sentences in China without due process. She also
told that the case of a young Uyghur protester,
whose wounded, lifeless body was anonymously
returned to his family.  The Chinese government
has cut internet and telephone communications,"
said Kadeer. Many other such cases exist and are not recorded.

Moderator Ambassador Alfred Moses underlined that
"the repressive regime in China will not survive. Oppression cannot survive. “

The panel's second speaker, Mr. Yang Jianli, said
that he was locked in solitary confinement for
five years after taking part in the 1989
pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen
Square.  He pressed the importance of the
Internet to push forward democracy in China.  Mr.
Jianli said, "The cost of censorship will outpace
the cost of circumventing censorship. It will be
impossible to maintain, China will not be able to
control the will of a billion citizens."

Ms. Phuntsok Nyidron, former political prisoner
and the recipient of 1996 Reebok Human Rights
Award said that she was given total of 17 years
sentence. Her crimes were secretly recording
songs with inmates in praise of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama in prison and saying “Long Live Dalai Lama and “Free Tibet”.

She further said that "I want to tell you what a
day was like in a Chinese prison. My right hand
was stretched over my right shoulder and a guard
stood on a table and pulled me up by my
handcuffs. Electric batons were put in my mouth,
my fingers were poked by shoe sewing machine
needles and cigarettes burned on my face. I was
shocked with electric wires until I fell
unconscious. The prison guard poured cold water
to wake me up and tortured me again. That day, I
was neither given a single drop of water nor food."

She urged audiences to help protect and support
rights of Tibetan people who have been struggling
for their basic rights under brutal Chinese
communist regime through non-violence.

According to organisers, over 800 participants
had signed up to this conference from 50
countries.  Yesterday's conference was attended
by over 200 people including some diplomats.
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