More than 300 participants from the EU Institutions, national parliaments, NGOs and the world of science joined the Tibet Conference in the European Parliament yesterday: “I was very pleased to be the keynote speaker of the Tibet Intergroup Conference on Genuine Autonomy in the European Parliament particularly as this coincides with my first visit to Brussels since assuming office in the Central Tibetan Administration as of August 2011. As I stated in my address, we Tibetans have been investing in democracy and non-violence for the last 50 years”, said Dr Lobsang Sangay, the newly-elected Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile.

He contiunued: “Furthermore, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s transfer of full political authority to the elected leader of the Central Tibetan Administration, this marks an important transition to a secular and democratic leadership. This conference reflects the European Parliament’s support for these initiatives.”

The conference was organised by the Members of the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament (TIG). The Intergroup is one of the biggest in the EP.

The President of the Intergroup and organiser of the Tibet conference, Thomas Mann MEP, said: “We have to realise that the situation in Tibet is getting worse. In April 2011, Chinese armed forces surrounded Kirti Monastery. As a consequence, a large number of monks committed self-immolation. This drastic form of protest shows their hopelessness and desperation. The Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament urged the European Commission to intervene. The answer from High Commissioner Lady Ashton was that the European Union is alarmed about the reports of detention, beatings and the deaths of monks.”

László Tőkés MEP, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament and Member of the Committee on Human Rights, stressed in his speech: “The ongoing human rights dialogues between the European Union and China need urgent reassessment as they have failed to deliver the desired results: the human rights situation in China is worsening, with tighter control on society, as reflected by the recent tragic cases of self-immolation of Tibetan nuns and monks. Europe needs to respond appropriately and effectively and hold the government accountable to live up to its international obligations, as well as to urge China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

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