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Obama "forgets" human rights to appease Beijing, Tibetan leader says

November 18, 2009

For Urgen Tenzin, the United States and Western
powers have a "moral obligation" towards
democracy and human rights. He is disappointed by
the US president’s visit to Asia. Too concerned
about the economic crisis, the US leader did not
defend democratic values. Japan has been able to
reconcile development and protection of individual liberties.
Asia News
November 17, 2009

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) -- The world’s economic
crisis and a desire to "appease" the Chinese
government are the reasons why US President
Barack Obama “did not speak about the Tibetan
issue" and human rights, Urgen Tenzin, executive
director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights
and Democracy (TCHRD)), told AsiaNews as he spoke
about Obama’s trip to Asia. For him, the
international community has a "moral obligation"
to defend the rights of all peoples, including Tibetans and Chinese.

"It is unfortunate that president Barack Obama
did not mention the Tibetan question," the TCHRD
chief said. He is not alone: "most world leaders
are also trying to appease the Chinese." The
power of China is such that Western governments have been forced into silence.

The US president uttered but a few timid words in
favour of dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai
Lama, pledging US support for rapprochement between the two sides.

During the 60th anniversary celebrations of the
People’s Republic of China, the authorities put
on display the country’s military might,
presenting China as a developed nation, Urgen
Tenzin said. "Sadly, this development has very
high human and environmental costs."

Natural disasters are affecting the Tibetan
plateau and future generations will suffer the
drastic consequences of rampant environmental degradation,

Whilst TCHRD appreciates President Obama’s
statement on human rights, it is crucial to
recognise that democracy and human rights are interrelated.

When he arrived in Japan, President Obama was
greeted with banners that said, "Welcome to
Japan! Don't Forget Human Rights and Tibet." For
Tenzin, such a plea by the Japanese is a good sign.

"Japan is one of the most respected democratic
nations in the Asian continent. It is a respected
and powerful developed country and this has made
it a ‘responsible nation’, urging other countries
to respect human rights, religious freedom,
individual liberties and democracy."

"The TCHRD," Urgen Tenzin said, "appreciates and
welcomes this brave move to be outspoken about
Tibet and human rights. Not only is Japan a
developed democratic power in the Asia, but it
now has moral authority and can show its concern for all peoples."
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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