More than 27 Tibetan Community Associations, representing European citizens of Tibetan origin from across Europe, are organizing a mass solidarity rally in Brussels on 10 March 2013 to commemorate the 54th Tibetan National Uprising Day of 1959. Nearly 5,000 Tibetans from several European countries and friends of Tibet from different parts of Europe are expected to converge in Brussels on 10 March to express their solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet, highlight the tragic situation and the self-immolation crisis in Tibet and seek support of the European Union and its Member States for the non-violent freedom struggle of the Tibetan people. On that day, a grand peace march will start from Gare du Nord at 11.30 a.m and will culminate at Le Mont des Arts in Brussels city centre where a mass rally will be held throughout the afternoon (1.30/2 pm). A wide range of guest speakers from the Central Tibetan Administration, the European Parliament and prominent personalities from Europe will address the rally. On 7 and 8 March, young Tibetan activists and friends of Tibet will engage in lobbying at the European Parliament to apprise them of the current situation inside Tibet and to call upon them to engage in practical steps to support the issue of Tibet. Since 2009, 107 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest against the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet. The most recent were two young Tibetans Tsesung Kyab and Phagmo Dhondup who self-immolated on 24 and 25 February 2013. The messages these protesters have left behind are testaments to their motivations and aspirations of freedom for the Tibetan people and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Restive areas of Tibet are being kept under strict military control and journalists, tourists and other visitors are not allowed to visit Tibet. Criminal prosecutions are being carried out to target the families and friends of those self-immolating. It is evident that Beijing is attempting to contain this new force of resistance through ever more draconian measures. The spate of self-immolations in Tibet is one of the most drastic forms of political protests the world has witnessed in the past 60 years. We still continue to see no end to it. In response, Chinese government continues to blame His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the outside forces for these acts of self immolations, and continues to impose hard line policies of repressions on the Tibetan people which further fuel dissent and cause such drastic acts of protests by the Tibetans. The self-immolations expose a crisis in the Beijing leadership’s Tibet policy and there is an urgent need for a fundamental change in its approach vis-a vis Tibet. The European Parliament has adopted an impressive number of resolutions on Tibet and the EU’s High Representative, Lady Ashton, has also issued statements expressing deep concern about the violations of human rights in Tibet and displaying support and solidarity with the people of Tibet. We greatly value the support and are deeply grateful for the expression of concern, support and solidarity by the European Union. However, what has been lacking so far are sustained and coordinated efforts with a clear political strategy and agenda. The EU-China Human Rights dialogue has failed to produce any tangible results in the past 17 years since the start of this dialogue in 1995. During this period the human rights situation in China in general and particularly in Tibet has worsened significantly. We, therefore, appeal to the European Union and its Member States to:
- Urge China to review its failed hardline policies in Tibet and address the genuine grievances of the Tibetan people by resolving the issue of Tibet through dialogue.
- Urge China to allow unfettered access to Tibet for the media, the United Nations and International fact-finding delegations to investigate and report on the real causes behind the self-immolations;
- To instruct EU Special Representative for Human Rights to seek access to Tibet and to undertake a fact-finding mission to Tibetan areas on a priority basis;
- To appoint an EU Special Coordinator for Tibetan Affairs with the primary task of encouraging and facilitating a dialogue between the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government with the aim of finding a mutually acceptable peaceful resolution of the
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issue of Tibet;
The organizing Committee for the 10th March European Solidarity Rally Points of Contact: – Vincent Metten, International Campaign for Tibet, EU Policy Director (media coordinator), Contact Cell Phone +32 (0) 473990440, Office +32 26094412 – Mr.
Tashi , Media contact ( Tibetan), Contact No. +31 684 933832 – Mr. Lobsang Gangshontsang, Media contact ( English), Contact No. +41794423405 – Mr. Thupten Gyatso, Media Contact (French), Contact No. + 33680729054