Strasbourg – The European Parliament today unanimously passed a resolution (text below) focusing on both the human rights situation in Tibet and on the cases of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup, who were sentenced to death by China in suspect trial proceedings earlier this month. The sentences have sparked international outcry, as the trials have been widely characterized as unfair and politically motivated.

International Campaign for Tibet Europe joined the Office of Tibet in Brussels and other groups in urging the European Parliament and the European Union to intervene on behalf of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup.

Mr. Thomas Mann (MEP), Chairman of the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament tabled the resolution in the urgencies debate of the EP plenary session in Strasbourg.

In a speech to the EP, delivered in German, he questioned the motivations behind recent gestures of the Chinese government, such as the release of Tibetan political prisoner Ngawang Sangdrol, and the timing of these death sentences, considering the recent leadership changeover announcement from Beijing.

Mann added that there was no indication that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup had received fair trials or that international norms had been repected in their cases. He said that while the battle against terrorism is necessary and supported by all, it cannot be carried out without the rule of law.

Several major political parities of the EP rallied to table the resolution, including the Christian Democrats, Greens and Social Democrats. This action closely follows the European Parliamentarian Conference on Tibet (14-15 November 2002), which resulted in a resolution calling for the establishment of an EU Special Representative to Tibet, along the lines of the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibet, currently Undersecretary for the Department of State Ms. Paula Dobriansky.

The two Tibetans, a prominent and well-respected lama and his attendant, face execution for charges of involvement in an April bomb blast that injured several people, according to the Sichuan People’s Daily and reports from Tibet. Lobsang Dhondup was sentenced to immediate death penalty. Trulku Tenzin Delek was sentenced to death with a suspension of two years. (see story) Both have reportedly appealed the sentences

The full text of the resolution appears below:

On the human rights situation of Tibetans

The European Parliament,
Recalling its earlier resolutions on Tibet and the human rights situation in China;

  1. Whereas on 2 December 2002 the Kardze (Ganzi) Intermediate People’s Court in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province sentenced Tenzin Delek, an influential Buddhist lama, to death with a two year suspension and sentenced his attendant, Lobsang Dhondup, to death pronounced to be immediate;
  2. Whereas Tenzin Delek and Lobsang Dhondup had been arrested on 7 April 2002 following a bombing incident in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, which took place on 3 April 2002;
  3. Whereas Tenzin Delek is accused for “causing explosions” and “inciting separatism” and Lobsang Dhondup for “inciting separatism”, “causing explosions” and “illegal possession of guns and ammunition”;
  4. Whereas Tenzin Delek was reportedly held incommunicado for eight months from the time of his arrest until the time of the trial;
  5. Whereas Tenzin Delek and Lobsang Dhondup have not been proven guilty;
  6. Whereas this is the first reported case for many years of death sentences being passed against Tibetans for alleged political offences;
  7. Whereas the Chinese Government has received representatives of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, recently;
    1. Reiterates its support for the rule of law and urges the Chinese government to immediately commute the death sentences given to Tenzin Delek and Lobsang Dhondup;
    2. Expresses its dismay about the imprisonment and isolation of Tenzin Delek and Lobsang Dhondup for eight months from the time of their arrest until the time of the trial;
    3. Urges the authorities to guarantee that the two men will not be ill-treated in detention, asks for an immediate review of the case and calls on the Chinese authorities to do all in its power to ascertain that international human rights and humanitarian law standards are being respected and, in particular, to guarantee internationally recognised legal proceedings for those who have been arrested;
    4. Underlines the importance of the fight against terrorism, but this must go hand in hand with the rule of law;
    5. Welcomes the release of Ngawang Sangdrol and Jigme Sangpo, Tibet’s longest serving prisoners of conscience and urges the Chinese authorities to continue with prisoners releases;
    6. Calls on the Government of China to continue to dialogue between the government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama;
    7. Calls on the EU to make its financial aid available in the light of progress towards the human rights situation of Tibetan ethnic minority in China, especially in Tibet region;
    8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the UN Secretary-General and the government of China.