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Amnesty Coordinator Calls for Peace and Justice in Tibet at Miami HRTR Event

May 21, 2008

By Michael Andrews
Epoch Times
May 19, 2008

Michael Andrews, Amnesty International USA Area Coordinator and
longtime human rights activist, attended the Miami Human Rights Torch
Relay event and discussed the Chinese regime's violent suppression of
monks' demonstrations in Tibet:

Thank you very much and thank you for being here.

On March 1 2008, 400 monks left Drepu Monastery heading for Central
Lhasa, the provincial capital of Tibet. The demonstration was calling
for an easing of a government-imposed campaign, which forced monks to
write denunciations of the Dalai Lama and subjects them to
governmental political propaganda.

Over fifty of them were detained by police on their way into the
city. Further demonstrations of these arrests took place at other
monasteries. These were joined by Tibetan lay people and spread to
the neighboring provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan where there
were significant numbers of ethnic Tibetans.

Some of these protests turned violent, with attacks on individuals
from other ethnic groups and destruction of property, particularly
property symbolizing the State or that owned by members of other ethnic groups.

The Chinese security forces' response was reported to include the use
of tear gas, beatings, and the firing of live ammunition. The
official death toll was reported to be thirteen, killed by violence
perpetrated by protesters, including those that set fire to buildings.

Tibetan exile sources now believe that at least 99 Tibetans were
killed. Reliable independent information is very difficult to obtain,
now that journalists and other observers are being comprehensively
denied access to areas where unrest took place.

Amnesty International is concerned with reports of Chinese security
forces using excessive force against Tibetan demonstrators, violating
demonstrators' rights to freedom of expression, association, and
assembly, and that the tense situation could lead to further violations.

As such, Amnesty International is calling on the authorities:

To avoid excessive use of force in restoring order, or protecting
individuals and property;

To allow independent U.N. investigation, and grant unimpeded access
to Tibet and neighboring provinces, to journalists and other
independent observers;

And to fully account for those who are detained, ensuring that they
will not be ill-treated, and are given fair trials;

The release of all those detained solely for peaceful protest;

And to otherwise fully respects rights to freedom of expression.

Here are our objectives:

* We are calling for a U.N. investigation into the unrest that took
place in Tibet and the surrounding provinces between March 10–16,
including special procedures of the Human Rights Council to visit
Tibet and report back to the Council in its eighth session

* We are also calling for a High Commissioner of Human Rights mission
to the region after which she would report back to the Human Rights council.

* We are also calling for access to Tibet by independent observers,
including journalists and human rights monitors, including a
statement form the International Olympic Committee calling on the
Chinese authorities to allow journalists access to areas where there
ahs been unrest, in line with Olympic promises of full media freedom.

For more information on human rights abuses in China and around the
world you can visit our website at AmnestyUSA.org

I thank you for being here to support human rights. Thank you.
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