President Havel third from left), Tseten Samdup (extreme right)
“Human freedom, human rights and human dignity must be respected in any society”, Václav Havel. The former president of the Czech Republic was addressing the Asia-Pacific Security Challenges - Implications for Europe and the Atlantic Alliances in Prague.
Czech Foreign Minister Mr. Karel Schwarzenberg said that human rights are the corner stone of Czech Foreign Policy. Organized by the Prague Security Studies Institute, the two-day conference was held at the Czech Foreign Ministry in Prague from 7 – 9 September 2008. Over 150 delegates from all over the world attended the conference.
Anand Sharma, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs was the keynote speaker. He spoke about Global Security Concerns in the 21st Century. He said that Climate, Food and Energy challenges were no longer regional but global.
Mr. Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative based in Geneva, was one of the panelists for Regional Democracy and human Rights. He said that Tibet, once a buffer state between the world’s two most populated nations - Tibet and China, is today a militarized zone. “Even after 50 years of occupation, China continues to ruthlessly suppress the Tibetans.” He told the gathering that Chinese forces’ crackdown on peaceful Tibetan protesters left more than 200 people dead, thousands injured and many more imprisoned.
Chhoekyapa called the uprising in Tibet a ‘manifestation of decades of Chinese repression - human rights violation, cultural and political discrimination of the Tibetan people’. He expressed his concern on Beijing’s policy of population transfer into Tibet and transformation of Tibet into a Han dominated region.
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not seeking Tibetan independence or separation from People’s Republic of China, but a genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people as enshrined in the Chinese Constitution. He said that Tibet’s rich cultural heritage is in danger of total extinction.