Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss today called for a satisfactory form of self-determination in Tibet through dialogue, the Tibet Bureau in Geneva reports.

Foreign Minister Deiss was addressing the 58th UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva when he referred to the situation in Tibet.

“With regard to the rights of minorities, in Tibet, for example, a satisfactory form of self-determination must be found through dialogue,” said Mr. Deiss said.

“In China and elsewhere, we point out that in some cases the drive for independence would be less strong if human rights were respected, for example, in religious and cultural matters, as well as through a judicial system which ensures fair trails,” Deiss continued.

“We are grateful that Switzerland chose to raise the issue of Tibet to this UN human rights body,” said Mr. Chhime R. Chhoekyapa, the Representative of H. H. the Dalai Lama for UN Affairs in Geneva, after listening to the Swiss Foreign Minister’s statement.”

“I believe Switzerland has sent a strong message to the Chinese leadership, especially after the recent round of Swiss-China Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing,” he added.

The French Foreign Minister, who spoke before Mr. Deiss, called for a better human rights situation in China.

As the Commission began to discuss the item which deals with human rights situation in various countries, another written statement on Tibet (see E.CN.4/2002/NGO147), submitted by German-based Society for Threatened Peoples, was distributed this morning.

Since the Commission began the Tibetan delegation, headed by Mr. Chhime R. Chhoekyapa, has been lobbying various governments to ascertain their position on the submission of a resolution against China’s human rights record.

At this stage there are no clear indications of whether or not a resolution will be tabled on China, Tibet Bureau says.

This week the Tibetan delegation will be joined by Mrs. Tsewang Lhadon, the Executive Director of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Dharamsala, India.