Amsterdam, 23 June – The newly-established International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT) today called upon the G20 leaders to take a proactive role in achieving a negotiated solution to the crisis in Tibet through dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama’s envoys. In a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the eve of the G20 in Toronto, Canada (June 25-26), included below, the Parliamentarians also urged multilateral cooperation in protecting Tibet’s fragile environment, so critical to the rest of Asia and the world.
The International Network of Parliamentarians brings together 133 Parliamentarians from 30 Parliaments to advance the Tibet issue in governments worldwide. The letter to Canada’s Prime Minister states: “The protection and development of the unique Tibetan identity in all its aspects serves the larger interest of humanity in general and those of the Tibetan and Chinese people in particular. And it represents a solution to the Tibet issue that is compatible with the pre-existing principles on autonomy as defined in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.”
Matteo Meccaci, Chairman of the Italian Tibet Inter Group and co-chair of the International Network of Parliamentarians, said: “It is now essential that the international community, and in particular the G8 countries, take the initiative to convince China of the necessity to resume the negotiations with the Tibetan authorities, on the basis of the Memorandum that was presented by the Dalai Lama’s envoys to the Chinese government during the eighth round of dialogue in November, 2008.” (See: Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People).
Mr Meccaci said: “Tibetan representatives have made clear that a meaningful autonomy is the best solution for all parties; but in order to reach that goal the truth of the real conditions in which the Tibetan people have been living over the last 50 years must be uncovered. The Chinese government – which increasingly wishes to play the role of a responsible international partner on many issues – must be reminded by its international counterparts that any solid and durable cooperation cannot avoid the acceptance of the truth of the reality.”
The International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet first convened in Rome last November, at a meeting addressed by the Dalai Lama, and held its first meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels on 2 June. The International Campaign for Tibet has been designated as the Secretariat of the network, and the two co-chairs are Matteo Mecacci and Thomas Mann, Chairman of the Tibet Inter Group in the European Parliament. Other members of the INPaT Working Group are Ms. Birgitta Jonsdottir (Iceland), Mr. Consiglio Di Nino (Canada), Mr. Takam Sanjoy (India) and Mr. Peter Slipper (Australia).
The letter presented to the G8 on Tibet is included below.
Notes to editors:
During the next six months, the International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet will undertake a series of specific actions, including a global parliamentary initiative in reaction to the grave human rights situation in Tibet, on World Human Rights Day, December 10. INPaT members from approximately 15 countries are expected to attend the celebration of 50 Years of Tibetan Democracy-in-exile scheduled to take place on September 2 at Bylakuppe, South India, where two major Tibetan settlements are located.
Penpa Tsering, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, said: “We believe the establishment of International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet and its Secretariat has been a good first step undertaken to further strengthen the coordination and network amongst parliamentarian supporters of Tibet so as to ensure concerted efforts for concrete results.”
Contacts: Matteo Meccaci: Co-chair, INPaT: + 39 347 96 82 8 37, firstname.lastname@example.org
Penpa Tsering: Speaker, Tibetan Parliament in Exile + 31 06 29 00 45 47
Tsering Jampa: INPaT, Secretariat : + 31 6 29 00 45 47/+ 31 20 330 82 65, email@example.com
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A2
Fax: 001 613 941 6900
Amsterdam, June 23, 2010
Dear Prime Minister,
We are approaching your office today on behalf of the International Network of Parliamentarians Tibet (INPaT) to express the gratitude for the past attention that Canada has given the issue of Tibet and to respectfully request that you raise the following issues related to Tibet with President Hu Jintao at June’s G20 Summit through their inclusion in the official agenda and side discussions.
Middle Way Approach – The Dalai Lama’s Middle Way Approach seeks to secure genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the scope of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, based on the mutual benefit and long-term interest of the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.
The protection and development of the unique Tibetan identity in all its aspects serves the larger interest of humanity in general and those of the Tibetan and Chinese people in particular. And it represents a solution to the Tibet issue that is compatible with the pre-existing principles on autonomy as defined in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
Since 2008, seven members of the G8 have publicly indicated their support for the dialogue between the government of China and the Dalai Lama, or his designated representatives, to resolve ongoing differences based upon the Middle Way Approach.
With this overwhelming support, the G20 Summit offers a unique opportunity to rally these and other voices into a common statement encouraging the government of China to avail itself of the opportunity presented by the 2008 Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy.
Human rights in Tibet – We, parliamentarians from around the world, remain deeply concerned about the protection of human rights in Tibet, including but not limited to freedom of religion, expression and due process.
We believe it is essential that G20 leaders make an unequivocal representation to President Hu over China’s lack of fair judicial process, religious repression and continued human rights abuses against the Tibetan people, including in the economic, social and cultural rights aspects.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) notes that “profitable returns to the state are generated by high profit levels of monopoly state enterprises reliant on Tibetan raw materials as their primary inputs, obtained at prices below market rates . . . Transfer pricing is a systematic feature of the extraction of Tibet’s resources for Chinese use.”
What is needed is meaningful consultation in which the people of Tibet are given adequate information, including all environmental assessment reports, on which to base an informed opinion as to whether the project is in their best interests. Consultations, for example in the form of public hearings, should engage all stakeholders and people should be free to express their dissent free from coercion.
Environment- Tibet, which China considers its “number one water tower,” provides water to ten downstream nations and is central to a global climate change solution. In addition to providing river water and monsoon rains to much of Asia, Tibet’s grasslands, if properly repaired, will serve as a carbon sink.
We urge G20 leaders to consider the following proposals:
1. Undertake independent, international scientific assessments of the changes in the Tibetan Plateau’s ecosystems, water resources and land use policies. The participation of scientists and relevant stakeholders from Tibet and those nations that depend on Tibet’s water is necessary for examination, analysis and interpretation of conditions on the plateau. This will facilitate an equitable and durable approach to adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change in the region, including ecosystem restoration and management of the plateau’s grasslands and forests.
2. Integrate the participation of Tibetans, especially nomads, in the decision-making and management of the plateau’s natural resources. Their experience is essential not only for understanding ecosystem changes, but also for addressing the threats of desertification and erosion. Government policies removing nomads from the grasslands are a misguided attempt to reduce desertification. There is scientific evidence that nomads’ management of the grasslands facilitates ecosystem stewardship and helps restore areas already degraded.
3. Encourage multilateral collaborative decision-making and governance of the Tibetan plateau’s water resources, including all regional and local stakeholders. Such cooperation will enhance the effectiveness of mitigation policies and promote equitable adaptation strategies that can reduce the risk of conflict over competition for water resources.
Tibet is indispensable to China’s ability to successfully implement global climate change solutions. We urge summit leaders to ensure that strategies to address climate change include stakeholders in Tibet, particularly nomads.
It’s time for G20 leaders to move beyond pro forma statements of support for Tibet in order to make real progress toward a fair and lasting resolution for the Tibetan people, their resources and environment and to make Tibet a substantive and results-oriented part of the agenda at the G20.
Matteo Meccaci, INPaT Co-Chair, MP, Italy
Thomas Mann, INPaT Co-Chair, MEP, Germany
Consiglio Di Nino, INPaT Working Group, Senator, Canada
Birgitta Jonsdottir, INPaT Working Group, MP, Iceland
Takam Sanjoy, INPaT Working Group, MP, India
Peter Slipper, INPaT Working Group, MP, Australia
For more information please contact:
Ms. Tsering Jampa
INPaT Secretariat Coordinator
1017 HG Amsterdam
T: +31 020 330 8265