Candle light vigil against killing of Tibetan refugees
humanrightshouse.org[Wednesday, October 25, 2006 17:04]
Right, Dechen Pelmo Thargyal of the Norwegian Tibet Committee handing out exact information about the shooting incident.
photos: HRH-F / Niels Jacob Harbitz.
Right, Dechen Pelmo Thargyal of the Norwegian Tibet Committee handing out exact information about the shooting incident. photos: HRH-F / Niels Jacob Harbitz.
Yesterday afternoon, members of the Tibetan diaspora were joined by Norwegian human rights activists and other sympathizers in a peaceful demonstration in front of the Norwegian Parliament drawing attention to the 30 September shooting of Tibetan refugees by Chinese border guards as they tried to cross over to Nepal. See the pictures from the demonstration and read Amnesty International´s urgent action appeal below. (24-OCT-06)

On 30 September, an international group of mountaineers climbing in the Himalayas witnessed Chinese border control guards shooting at a group of Tibetans, including children, who were trying to flee to Nepal. At least two children, one of whom was Kelsang Namtso, a nun, are thought to have been killed. Nine children, thought to be aged between six and 10, and one man are known to have been detained by the Chinese authorities, and around 20 other individuals are unaccounted for. Amnesty International
young demonstrators signing an appeal to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to raise the incident with Chinese authorities.   
photos: HRH-F / Niels Jacob Harbitz.
young demonstrators signing an appeal to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to raise the incident with Chinese authorities. photos: HRH-F / Niels Jacob Harbitz.
fears for the safety of those detained and those unaccounted for.

Body collected after 36 hours
The mountaineers, who were at a base camp, claim the shooting took place about 300 yards away from them, on the glaciated Nangpa Pass, a commonly-used escape route for people fleeing China. Chinese security personnel reportedly fired two warning shots at the group of Tibetans, who numbered about 70 people. The group got dispersed, and the security personnel then allegedly took aim at some 20 of the group who were crossing a glacier at the time. The mountaineers saw one person fall, get up and fall again, and then they witnessed security personnel collecting a body some 36 hours after the shooting took place. Following the incident, the security personnel took over the mountaineers’ camp temporarily, and the detained children and adult were brought to the camp before being taken away.

the crowd attending the vigil included members of the Tibetan community in Norway, human rights defenders from the Human Rights House and elsewhere, and also other sympathizers of the Tibetan cause.
photos: HRH-F / Niels Jacob Harbitz.
the crowd attending the vigil included members of the Tibetan community in Norway, human rights defenders from the Human Rights House and elsewhere, and also other sympathizers of the Tibetan cause. photos: HRH-F / Niels Jacob Harbitz.
At least one person, Kelsang Namtso, has been confirmed dead following the
shooting. Forty-three members of the group managed to reach Nepal, and in an
interview with the non-governmental organization the International Campaign for
Tibet (ICT), they allege that a young boy was also killed. There are unconfirmed reports that up to six others may also have died. The events that led to shooting remain unclear. It is believed that the security personnel responsible were from the Chinese People’s Armed Police, which is responsible, amongst other things, for border control and patrolling the mountain passes in Tibet.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Freedom of religion, expression and association continue to be severely restricted in Tibet, and as result many are imprisoned for peacefully exercising their basic human rights. As elsewhere in China, arbitrary detentions, unfair trials and torture and ill-treatment remain commonplace. According to the ICT, between 2,000 and 3,000 Tibetans flee China every year via Nepal to India. About a third of them are children who are sent to Tibetan schools in India, while many others are monks and nuns seeking religious education.
Voice of Tibet´s Øystein Alme covering the event. behind him, listening, is the Chairwoman of the Norwegian Tibet Committee Chungdak Koren. 
photos: HRH-F / Niels Jacob Harbitz.
Voice of Tibet´s Øystein Alme covering the event. behind him, listening, is the Chairwoman of the Norwegian Tibet Committee Chungdak Koren. photos: HRH-F / Niels Jacob Harbitz.
Tibetans fleeing China have been shot at by both the Chinese and Nepalese military personnel before, but this is the most severe incident that has come to public attention in recent years.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." According to the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, "law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury…only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.

MP Olav Gunnar Ballo and mountaineer Arve Johansen, who witnessed the shooting, discuss the details of the incident. Both also gave appeals at the candle light vigil.
photo:HRH-F / Niels Jacob Harbitz.
MP Olav Gunnar Ballo and mountaineer Arve Johansen, who witnessed the shooting, discuss the details of the incident. Both also gave appeals at the candle light vigil. photo:HRH-F / Niels Jacob Harbitz.

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