(TibetanReview.net, Mar11, 2018) – A total of 20 members of the national parliaments of the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have issued a joint statement, expressing support for the Tibetan people as the latter commemorated on Mar 10 the 59th anniversary of their national uprising against the Chinese occupation of their country. The members paid tribute to the courage and resilience of the Tibetan people in continuing their freedom struggle and expressed full support for them in their ongoing efforts to protect their political, social, cultural and environmental rights.
The signatories to the statement condemned the Chinese authorities’ repressive policies in Tibet and said they were appalled by the continuing reports about the ongoing human rights violations in Tibet. They cited Amnesty International and Freedom House reports on the situation in Chinese ruled Tibet in 2017 as basis for their criticisms of China’s rule and abuses in Tibet.
The members have expressed deep sadness that since Feb 27, 2009, 152 Tibetans in Tibet had self-immolated in protest against the Chinese government’s policies, with the most recent tragic case being that of Tsekho Tugchak, a Tibetan man in his 40s who had set himself on fire just three days earlier, on Mar 7.
The report called occupied Tibet one of the most closed places on earth. It noted the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China as reporting that in 2017 80% of China-based correspondents travelling to Tibetan inhabited areas had reported significant attempts by Chinese officials and security agents to hamper their reporting.
The MPs called on the respective governments and the European Union to urge China to grant independent observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, immediate and unhindered access to Tibet to assess the human rights situation on the ground. They also called for China to be urged to release all Tibetan political prisoners, raising several specific cases that included the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and the Tibetan language activist Tashi Wangchuk.
They said a viable long-term resolution could only be achieved through an outcome that is mutually beneficial for both the Chinese and the Tibetans, suggesting that this could be achieved through the Middle Way Approach that seeks meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people within China.
The MPs accordingly called on the Chinese authorities to begin a meaningful dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to resolve the long-standing issue of Tibet.
The MPs were, from Lithuania: Andrius Navickas, Vytautas Kernagis, Monika Navickienė, Gintarė Skaistė, Aušra Maldeikienė, Laurynas Kasčiūnas, and Arūnas Gelūna. From Estonia: Yoko Alender, Eerik-Niiles Kross, Andres Herkel, Andres Ammas, and Mart Nutt, From Latvia: Mārtiņš Šics, Juris Viļums, Inguna Rībena, Andris Buiķis, Artuss Kaimiņš, Kārlis Krēsliņš, Jānis Ruks, and Janīna Kursīte.