Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg display Tibetan flags during a session on March 12, 2009 (File photo)
DHARAMSHALA, June 15: In a hard-hitting resolution on the human rights situation in Tibet, the European Parliament on Thursday criticised China for its continued human rights abuses in Tibet and called on EU foreign policy chief Ashton to appoint a special EU coordinator for Tibet.
Members of the European Parliament at the Strasbourg plenary session June 11-14, demanded China reveal the whereabouts of the Tibetan self-immolators, who have survived their protest, while calling for unrestricted access to Tibet for media and human rights monitors.
MEP Kristiina Ojuland from Estonia noted that China’s "repressive policies,” including the “marginalisation of Tibetan identity, language and culture” were responsible for provoking self-immolations in Tibet.
“The gravity of the situation calls for greater involvement of the EU,” Ojuland said.
The MEPs rebuked China for using “disproportionate force while dealing with the protests of 2008 in Tibet” and for continuing to impose “restrictive security measures" in Tibet.
They insisted that the authorities of the People’s Republic of China “respect the freedom of expression, association, and belief of the Tibetans” while urging them to refrain from settlement policies in favour of the Han as well as from forcing Tibetan nomads to abandon their traditional lifestyle.
The MEPs noted that the bi-annual EU-China Human Rights Dialogue has “not resulted in any significant improvements” in Tibet and urged the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union to make “every effort” to ensure that the dialogues are “more effective and result-oriented.”
They also expressed regret at China’s recent unwillingness to hold the dialogue twice a year and to discuss individual cases.
While expressing their “disappointment” at China for stalling the Sino-Tibet dialogue process, the MEPs nevertheless encouraged the Chinese authorities to “engage in a meaningful discussion with the representatives of the Central Tibetan Administration on the future of Tibet.”
The plenary session urged EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton to appoint a “special coordinator” with a mandate to report regularly on Tibet, to support constructive Sino-Tibet dialogue, and to provide assistance to Tibetan refugees, particularly in Nepal and India.
They also urge Ashton to address the issue of Tibet “at every meeting with the representatives of the People’s Republic of China.”
Edward McMillan Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament concluded that the resolution is “especially timely” given the ongoing European tour of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“It is only right that we continue to strengthen our support of this region, and that an EU special coordinator for Tibet is appointed, thereby sending a clear message to the Chinese government as well as the international community: chronic human rights abuses in Tibet will not be ignored," the vice president said.