The British House of Commons.
DHARAMSHALA, February 11: An Early Day Motion (EDM) condemning the Chinese security forces’ “unwarranted use” of force on unarmed Tibetan protesters and calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to make a public statement of concern on the “deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet” was tabled on February 8 in the British Parliament.
The motion expressed the Parliament’s great sadness on the loss of life both of Tibetans who were “shot and killed” in peaceful demonstrations and the instances where Tibetans have resorted to self-immolation in an effort to draw attention to the ongoing repression by the Chinese authorities.
Sponsoring the motion, Fabian Hamilton MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet conveyed the Parliament’s alarm at the imposition of “de facto martial law” in Tibetan regions, the restriction of movement for Tibetans and the “complete ban on foreign media.”
Urging its government to put pressure on China to “ease tensions” by withdrawing its armed forces from Tibetan areas, the motion called on Beijing to give foreign journalists, humanitarian agencies and independent observers “full and unfettered” access to Tibetan areas to ascertain the current situation.
The motion further called on the British Government to work with other governments in safeguarding Tibetans’ rights and instigating a “multilateral approach whereby international governments together urge the Chinese government to enter into immediate and unconditional negotiations with representatives of the Tibetan people in order to resolve the Tibetans' underlying grievances”.
The motion was tabled, coinciding with the global vigil on February 8, called in solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet by the exile Tibetan leadership.
Although EDMs are formal motions submitted for debate in the British House of Commons, however, very few EDMs are actually debated upon, with most of them used at demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.
Ahead of the 53rd anniversary of the March 10 Tibetan National Uprising Day, Tibetans and supporters in the UK are planning a series of campaigns which include a mass lobby of Parliament and a Tibetan freedom March outside the Chinese Embassy in London.