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UN Prepares to Silence Tibetan Voices at World Summit

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/04/03; April 3, 2002.]

NEW YORK, 2 April 2002 (TJC) --with the G77 nations squarely under its thumb, China has hijacked the United Nations' World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) process, threatening Tibetan participation in yet another global forum. "This policy of systematic exclusion of civil society damages the integrity of the WSSD, the United Nations and its process," said Mr. Tashi Tsering of Tibet Justice Center, a US-based NGO (www.tibetjustice.org). "The UN has once again failed to support constructive dialogue between Chinese and Tibetan interests."

"It is ironic that at a time when the world is focused on eradicating terrorism, it chooses to ignore one of the few non-violent struggles that could serve as an alternative model for conflict resolution," said D'Arcy Richardson, Chair of the Center's Environment Committee. "We are a small NGO working against all odds to create fruitful dialogue between two disparate groups. I want to believe that the world's nations will stand up for once and support a constructive process."

In fact, China has already acknowledged the relevance and legitimacy of Tibet Justice Center in environment and development matters. Face-to-face negotiations between the two produced substantive agreements on water management issues at World Conservation Union (IUCN) Congresses in 1996 and 2000. "Tibet Justice Center efforts at the current PrepCom and at the WSSD in Johannesburg seek to continue this dialogue," said Mr. Tsering. "We will continue to fight for the right to participate."

Prospects, however, are dim. At the second WSSD Preparatory Committee meeting in February, China blocked accreditation of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) through a "No Action" motion. ICT's legitimate bid for a seat at the table in global discussions on environment and sustainable development ended before it could begin. "The UN has promised a 'process that is open, transparent, and highly participatory,'" said the Center's Tashi Tsering. "Instead, the Chinese government has commandeered the process for its own political self-interest." China will seek a similar action this week against Tibet Justice Center's accreditation."This is no longer the World Summit on Sustainable Development. It has become China's summit," said Dennis Cusack, President of Tibet Justice Center. "This is blatant censorship enforced by China while the rest of the world stands by and watches. The implications for the UN and civil society are enormouswho' s next on China's list?"

D'Arcy Richardson, 510.912.8215
Tashi Tsering, 503.725.3909

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