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10th March 2009: Open letter to Gordon Brown PDF Print E-mail
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising - 10 March 2009 - a coalition of UK based Tibet support groups published an open letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressing the urgent need for the UK government to act in light of the critical situation inside Tibet. Rt. Hon Gordon Brown MP
10 Downing Street
London SW1 2AA

10 March 2009

Dear Prime Minister

We are writing to you as a coalition of UK-based Tibet support groups on the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising against Chinese rule and one year on since protests swept across Tibet, to draw your attention to the current critical situation inside Tibet and to make specific recommendations which the UK Government can adopt.

Last spring, the deep frustration felt by Tibetan people against the ongoing Chinese occupation resulted in widespread demonstrations across Tibet. The response by the Chinese authorities was swift and brutal, including the use of lethal force against peaceful demonstrators. Thousands of Tibetans were arbitrarily arrested; the whereabouts of at least 1,000 is still unknown.

An intensified patriotic re-education campaign, dawn raids on homes, restrictions on freedom of movement, the use of torture as a weapon against dissent, all have become routine. Tibet is now effectively under de facto martial law. Yet the protests which began in March 2008 continue.

Over recent weeks there have been several protests across Tibet. One monk set himself on fire in his desperation to expose the repression inside Tibet. On 1 March 2009, hundreds of monks from Sey Monastry, Ngaba County, Amdo (Ch: Sichuan Province) protested.

In addition to levels of repression arguably unseen since the Cultural Revolution we are continuing to witness a military build up in many Tibetan towns, which began before the Olympic Games but has increased in the last few weeks ahead of the March anniversaries.

Our fear is that a repeat of last years bloodshed could happen again.

Prime Minister, you have been at the forefront of the UK Governments policy to strengthen relations with China as part of your strategy to address the global economic downturn. A strengthened relationship should provide the opportunity to address not only issues of mutual interest but also more sensitive areas, including fundamental human rights in Tibet and support for the Tibetan peoples right to self determination.
In view of the terrifying picture unfolding in Tibet and the impunity with which human rights violations are taking place, we urge you Prime Minister;

To gain personal guarantees from the Chinese government that disproportionate including lethal force will not be used against unarmed civilians.

To support UN demands by sponsoring a call for a thorough and independent inquiry into the excessive use of force, including against peaceful demonstrators.

To appoint a UK Special Representative for Tibet.

And to strengthen the British Embassy in Beijings capacity to monitor human rights, by increasing current human rights staffing levels from one, and appointing a Tibet Desk Officer, with a specific mandate to monitor human rights in Tibet.

Yours sincerely

The Coalition of UK Tibet Support Groups

Tibet Society
Free Tibet
Tibetan Community of Britain
Students for a Free Tibet
Tibetan Youth UK

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