DHARAMSHALA, March 1: The United Kingdom expressed its deep concern over the self-immolation protests inside Tibet and said the human rights situation in the region is “clearly worsening.”
Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Warsi told the British parliament that the UK “regularly raises” its concerns with the Chinese authorities.
“Of course, I have real concern about the tragic cases of self-immolation,” Baroness Warsi said. “Tragically, those who die do so at great loss to their communities and families, but those who survive end up suffering for many years with very little treatment. It is a matter that we continue to raise.”
Answering queries raised by members of the British House of Lords earlier this week, she noted that Tibet was discussed at the last round of the annual UK-China human rights dialogue in January 2012. However, she conceded that this year’s round of dialogue “is now overdue and that officials have been in contact with each other with a view to try to fix a date for further discussions.”
The Senior Minister encouraged all concerned parties to work for the resumption of substantive dialogue as a means to address Tibetan concerns and to relieve tensions.
“We are concerned about the lack of meaningful dialogue to address the underlying grievances against a clearly worsening situation,” Baroness Warsi said.
“We continue to encourage all parties to work for a resumption of substantive dialogue as a means to address the Tibetan concerns and to relieve tensions. Of course, we continue to make the case to China that any economic progress can be sustained only if there is social progress as well.”
In response to a question concerning the fate of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama, she said her government has made representations with the Chinese government. Soon after the Dalai Lama recognised the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995, China abducted him and replaced him another boy. The whereabouts of Gendun Choekyi Nyima and his parents remain unknown till this day.
“Indeed, I think his name appeared on a specific list that was handed over during one of the UK-China human rights dialogues,” Baroness Warsi said. “We have also put forward the idea of him being allowed access to an independent organisation that could assess his current health and whereabouts.”
Briton Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire in a statement last year
called on China to allow diplomatic access to Tibet and urging Beijing to resume “meaningful dialogue” with Tibetan representatives.