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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

ICT at UN Racism Conference

April 30, 2009

International Campaign for Tibet
April 27, 2009

ICT attended the UN Durban Review Conference in
Geneva from 20-24 April. The Durban Review looks
at global issues of racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.

As the only Tibetan NGO accredited to the
conference, ICT was able to make an oral
statement on aspects of intolerance and
discrimination in Tibet, as well as deliver a
written statement outlining key issues
contributing to discrimination in Tibet, and
possible ways to tackle the problem.

You can read the oral statement below, and read ICT’s written statement below:

DURBAN REVIEW CONFERENCE
20-24 April, 2009
Item 9: General Debate

Statement by Ms. Tsering Jampa on behalf of
International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)

Mr. President, the International Campaign for
Tibet, the only Tibetan NGO accredited to the
Durban Review Conference, notes with interest the
remarks of Ambassador Li Baodong to this
Conference that “China is ready to work will all
governments and the civil society to create a
world free of discrimination, hatred, fear and
prejudice.”  The question now is whether there is
a political will to change the ground realities.

On 16 April, Qiaga Tashi Tsering from Nankai
University, a Tibetan blogger, wrote a piece
titled, "A Day of Pain” in which he described how
he personally experienced a racist situation in Beijing:

"On April 12, my girlfriend from my hometown came
to see me and we went to Beijing. By the time we
got to Beijing it was already gone six in the
evening and so we went to find somewhere to stay.
As soon as we got to the hotel, their service was
extremely friendly and I said at the time to my
girlfriend: “This is the capital city of the
motherland, and so of course the levels of
service are going to be high.” But as we were
registering, the receptionist said something that
pained me deeply. She said, “Tibetans can’t stay
here.” At the time I didn’t want to believe my
ears and so I picked up my student’s ID and
showed it to them again but they still wouldn’t
let me stay, saying that they needed
certification from the local police. I went to
seven or eight different hotels but they all gave
the same answer. Angry and disappointed, the only
question going round my head was “why?”

Mr. President, the situation in Tibet has
frequently been raised at various UN Conferences
and forum on Human Rights, including CERD, and by
concerned governments and NGOs.  The Special
Rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination,
xenophobia and related intolerance in his report
of December 2002 indicated to the Chinese
authorities that Tibetans in the Tibetan
Autonomous Region (TAR) suffer various forms of
systematic and institutional discrimination in
the fields of employment, health care, education,
housing and public representation.

On political representation, the Special Rapporteur said that:

"Although laws guarantee Tibet self-government,
Tibetans’ governing power is very restricted and
is subject to strict supervision and authorization by the central authority.”

Mr. President, for Tibetans in present-day China,
the intensification of repression from the State
in response to widespread popular protests since
March 2008 has led some Tibetans to liken this
period to the excesses of the Cultural
Revolution. They are witnessing a deliberate and
concerted effort of incitement by the Chinese
authorities to portray Tibetans as suspicious,
ungrateful, violent and anti-Chinese or even
“terrorists”,  a situation which they argue
entrenches mutual distrust, drives the two
communities further apart and of course, makes a
sustainable solution to the Sino-Tibetan problem all the more elusive.

In conclusion, Mr. President, we welcome the
Outcome Document, which urges all member States
to "address with greater resolve and political
will all forms and manifestations of racism,
racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
intolerance, in all spheres of life and in all
parts of the world, including all those under
foreign occupation (paragraph 5)”.  The tragedy
for millions of Tibetans is that they have
suffered and continue to suffer under an
oppressive occupation and the hard-line policies
of the Chinese government since 1949-50. This
human situation should not be forgotten by the international community.

I thank you, Mr. President.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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