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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Letter to Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

March 14, 2008

Ms Louise Arbour
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

14 March 2008

Dear Ms Arbour,

We the undersigned, representatives of 153 Tibetan organisations and 
Tibet Support Groups around the word, are writing to you in great 
concern about the situation in Tibet, to appeal to you to take urgent 
action to prevent the situation from worsening.

Reports from Lhasa today describe how attempts by Buddhist monks from 
Ramoche Temple to participate in further peaceful protest against 
Chinese rule have led to violent clashes with police. Simultaneously, 
we have learned of large-scale protests going on in Labrang, Amdo 
(Kanlho "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture", Gansu Province); an 
unprecedented situation which demonstrates the scale of Tibetan 
dissatisfaction with Chinese rule. The British Embassy in Beijing has 
confirmed "many injuries" in Lhasa, and in the last few moments two 
news agencies have reported that several people have been killed.

The protests began on Monday 10th March, with a small, peaceful 
demonstration in Lhasa's Barkhor Square by a group of around 15 monks. 
Shortly after their immediate detention, up to 500 monks from Drepung 
Monastery marched in support, but large numbers of them were arrested. 
Over the course of the next three days, monks from the other major 
Tibetan monasteries of Sera and Ganden also protested, despite a 
crackdown which involved the monasteries concerned being surrounded by 
thousands of soldiers and armed police. Radio Free Asia reported that 
two Drepung monks had attempted suicide in the aftermath, and are in a 
critical condition.

China's policies in Tibet are largely responsible for this situation; 
its renewal of a patriotic re-education campaign and its stepping up 
of anti-Dalai Lama rhetoric, and its economic policies that have led 
to the increasing marginalisation of Tibetans. Furthermore, there is 
widespread understanding that China has engaged in further suppression 
of rights prior to the 2008 Olympic Games. Tibetans are also aware 
that the Dalai Lama's attempts at dialogue to reach a peaceful 
solution for Tibet are not being responded to in good faith by China.

We appeal to you to make urgent contact with the Chinese authorities, 
urging them to use restraint in the current situation, to allow 
peaceful protest by Tibetans inside Tibet in accordance with 
international law, and to provide you with an explanation of their 
actions in Tibet. We also ask you to issue a public statement of your 
concern about the crisis in Tibet.

Furthermore, we appeal to you to send a fact-finding mission or 
representative from your office to Lhasa with all speed so that more 
information can be obtained about the situation and how it developed.

Yours faithfully,

Canada Tibet Committee and the International Tibet Support Network

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