Uprising 2012: Response from UK Government
[25 April 2012] The UK government have replied to a letter delivered to Prime Minister David Cameron on 10 March 2012. The letter was signed by a coalition of UK-based Tibet groups including Tibet Society and called for action from the British government on Tibet. Below is the response received from the Foreign Office.

Foreign &

King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH

25 April 2012

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your letter of 10 March to the Prime Minister about Tibet I am replying as Minister responsible for our relations with China.

The British Government has been robust in raising our concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet with the Chinese government, in particular the large number of self-immolations that have occurred in Tibetan areas since March last year. I would like to reassure you that we will continue to engage with the Chinese government on this matter and to press for a meaningful resolution to the grievances that underlie these distressing events.

In addition to bilateral representations, we also work closely with like-minded countries in multilateral fora to raise our concerns on human rights. The UK raised the issue of the human rights situation in Tibet several times during the most recent Human Rights Council, which met from 28 February to 23 March 2012 We made our concerns about violent suppression of protests in Tibetan areas  during our national statement on agenda Item 4, Countries of Concern. As part of the EU, we made clear concerns about the enforced resettlement of Tibetan nomads and herders during the interactive dialogue with the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. We also raised the important role the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) played in Nepal to protect the rights of Tibetans resident there, particularly in relation to the freedoms of expression religion and assembly. We will continue to identify opportunities to publically raise our concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet in the Human Rights Council, both nationally and as part of the EU.

On your specific point about access to Tibet for media, international observers and humanitarian agencies, my colleague the Right Hon Lord Howell of Guildford, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), also raised our concerns with the Deputy Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Hao Peng, on 7 December. Lord Howell requested that foreign journalists and diplomats be allowed greater access to Tibetan regions. Our officials in China make regular visits to Tibetan areas, and we remain in frequent contact with the Foreign Affairs Office in Sichuan and local Public Security Bureau offices regarding access to these areas.

Our consistent position is that long term stability can only be achieved through respect for human rights and genuine autonomy for Tibet within the framework of the Chinese constitution. We believe meaningful dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and the Chinese authorities is the best way to make this happen.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Browne MP
Minister of State

Tibet Society, the world’s first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership £24; Overseas £36; Life £500).

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