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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Pressure China over Tibetan issue, urge Nobel laureates

October 30, 2009

Thaindian
October 29, 2009

New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) Praising India for
taking good care of Tibetan refugees, two Nobel
peace laureates Thursday appealed to the
international community to pressure China to
grant religious and cultural freedom to Tibetans.

"Despite India’s tightrope walk on the Tibetan
issue, India must be commended for allowing
Tibetan refugees and taking care of them,” Jody
Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize jointly
with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in 1997, said here.

"The Dalai Lama has led his community and allowed
them to develop peacefully," she said.

"People of Tibet have right to religious equality
and freedom. There is no political will on part
of the Chinese government to deal with it," said
Mairead Corrigan, who won the Nobel Peace Prize
in 1976 along with Betty Williams for her
advocacy of a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

The two, who met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala
Tuesday, criticised the violation of human rights
of Tibetans in China and exhorted the
international community to use their influence to pressure China.

The Dalai Lama has been living in the hill resort
of Dharamsala in India for the past five decades
along with his followers since he fled from
Chinese persecution in 1959. India has allowed
Tibetans to stay in India on condition that they
do not indulge in political activities in the country.

Williams and Corrigan were speaking at the India
International Centre at an interaction organised
by the Foundation for Non-violent Alternatives in
partnership with NDTV. The two invoked Mahatma
Gandhi’s methods of non-violent resistance to
remind the world that only non-violence can lead to sustainable peace.

Williams criticised US President Barack Obama’s
decision to cancel a meeting with the Dalai Lama
early this month reportedly under pressure from
China. "It was appalling. Human rights issues
were ignored," she said while cautioning against
the perils of mixing economics with human rights issues.

Williams was also critical of the Nobel Peace
Prize for Obama, saying it was premature. "Let’s
see if he can rock the boat and walk the talk.
It’s about action, not words," she said.

"Our role as Nobel laureates is to continue
pressure to educate governments on errors of
thinking, educating China about its
responsibility and, above all, educating people
and civil society about the welfare of Tibetans," said Williams.

Williams expressed her concern and anguish over
the plight of Tibetan refugees in Nepal. "We are
concerned about the situation of 20,000 refugees
on Nepal, including 5,000 undocumented refugees.
Under pressure from China, they have not been allowed to go home," she said.

"We plan to send a letter to President Obama and
members of the US Congress about the situation of the refugees," she said.
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