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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Canadian Foreign Minister condemns the persecution of Tibetan Buddhists

October 28, 2020

Ottawa, October 28, 2020 – On the occasion of International Religious Freedom Day, the Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued a statement expressing concerns about the persecution of Tibetan Buddhists in Tibet.[i]

The human rights situation in Tibet has declined dramatically in recent years with gross restrictions on the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, religion and privacy. For the fifth consecutive year, Washington based Freedom House has ranked Tibet as the second worst place in the world for freedom and human rights, with only Syria scoring lower. [ii] More than 2000 prisoners-of-conscience linger in China’s prisons. Many are held without charge, are denied due process, or experience torture in detention. [iii]

Earlier this year, on January 11, 2020, the third session of the 11th People’s Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region passed legislation that calls for “ethnic unity” in Tibet Autonomous Region. The regulations undermine the economic, social, and cultural rights of the Tibetan people, and seek to reduce ethnic differences to achieve a stable, Chinese-centric society and consolidate the Communist Party’s grip on the Tibetan people.

As part of strengthening Tibet advocacy in Canada, the Canada Tibet Committee sent a joint letter to Minister Champagne in March 2020 highlighting the current situations in Tibet and requesting a visit of a high-level Canadian diplomat to Tibet. In response, Minister Champagne sent a letter reassuring that Canada will continue to call on the Government of China to respect the rights of Tibetans and to take steps to improve the human rights situation in Tibetan areas.[iv]

The last time Canadian Ambassador in Beijing visited Tibet was back in 2015. The recent closure of the US Consulate in Chengdu has made it difficult for the international community to gather information about situations in Tibetan areas.

 

By Sherap Therchin

 

[i] Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs on International Religious Freedom Day

https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2020/10/statement-by-minister-of-foreign-affairs-on-international-religious-freedom-day.html?fbclid=IwAR1lf37jKe5ib4jtfnkFroudvckYyjAaBFsLSEytciU8sJ8jPaQIjzsoZhw

[ii] Freedom in the World 2018 Table of Country Scores', Freedom House, March 2020:

https://freedomhouse.org/countries/freedom-world/scores?fbclid=IwAR3RSWq42wvP3fz7sNgO7dlHgK34HVw-uuupqvO5k74Wu7bUhj_ucZSgNMI#.Xl-yr8DhQWU.facebook

[iii] For a current database of Tibetan prisoners, see Tibetan Centre for Human Rights & Democracy at

http://www.tchrd.org/tchrd_pdb

[iv] Minister Champagne responds to Canada Tibet Committee about Canada’s support for Tibet

https://logicalframeworkblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/sherap-therchin-and-co-signatories1.pdf

 

 

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