On the occasion of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which started Jan. 1, the International Campaign for Tibet has called on the French government to do its utmost to promote a strong and united position of the European Union to advance human rights on the Tibetan Plateau during the six months of its presidency.

In a briefing paper released last month, ICT provided an overview of the dire human rights situation in Tibet—including the detention, torture and enforced disappearances of a large number of activists and dissidents, attacks against religious freedom and the Tibetan language, and restrictions on freedom of movement—and presented five points of action through which the European Union could actively contribute to improving the situation.

The briefing paper was shared with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Dec. 1, 2021, just one month before the start of the presidency, ICT also held an episode of its Tibet Talks Europe series in which French parliamentarians and members of the European Parliament discussed the opportunities that the presidency could bring for human rights in China and Tibet.

Five action points

ICT calls on the French EU Presidency to:

  • Publicly and vigorously demand the Chinese government respect the civil and political rights of Tibetans, who are subjected to a system of torture, arbitrary detention and restriction of freedom of expression, religion and assembly
  • Demand the respect of religious freedom for all Tibetan Buddhists, including those outside Tibet, and the right of Tibetan Buddhists to decide the succession of the Dalai Lama without interference from the Chinese government
  • Urge unfettered and reciprocal access to Tibet for UN experts as well as foreign diplomats, parliamentarians, journalists and non-governmental organizations
  • Urge sustainable development and climate-related policies on the Tibetan Plateau that respect the rights of Tibetans and do not lead to mass forced settlement of Tibetan nomads, poverty and cultural uprooting
  • Actively support the resumption of Tibetan-Chinese dialogue.

ICT’s briefing paper («Briser le silence sur la crise du Tibet: Cinq points d’action pour la Présidence française ») is available in French here.

ICT quote

ICT EU Policy Director Vincent Metten:

“France has continuously expressed its support for human rights in Tibet, even offering to play a facilitating role in the resumption of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue. At a time when the very survival of Tibetans as a distinct people is under threat, France must turn these words into actions and seize the opportunity of its presidency of the EU to promote a strong and united EU policy on human rights in China and Tibet and contribute to concrete progress on the ground.”