By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, October 5: The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC), a Montreal-based NGO, has called the Canadian government to seek ‘free and non-restrictive’ diplomatic access for Canadian officials to Tibet saying Canada must not allow Chinese delegations until Beijing reciprocates diplomatic access to Tibet.
“Reciprocity is a fundamental principal of diplomatic practice,” said Carole Samdup, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee.
“Until Government of Canada officials can visit Tibet freely and without restrictions, diplomatic delegations from the TAR should not be welcomed here in Canada,” she said.
The Canadian government, in its response to MP Randall Garrison’s Order Paper regarding Canadian diplomatic access to Tibet, said that permit to enter into so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) was difficult to obtain.
Using the excuse of staff shortage to attain the diplomats, TAR Foreign Affairs Office (FAO) imposed convoluted permit application process, which causes substantial delay in the visits, said the government.
“Diplomatic visits to TAR are tightly managed by the local authorities. TAR FAO officials generally accompany the delegation on the entire visit. Access to local residents can be quite limited.”
The government cleared that they have not ‘explicitly’ made any visit to monitor or investigate human rights violations, but stated that understanding human rights situation in TAR is an important objective for every visit.
Since 2009, the Canadian diplomats have made five visits to TAR but mostly remained confined to Lhasa and meeting with officials of TAR Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission. On the contrary, eight TAR delegations have visited Canada without any restrictions for governmental, parliamentary and cultural exchanges.