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Tibet Justice Center Testifies at UN Human Security Commission

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/08/29; August 29, 2002.]

Johannesburg, August 27-- Mr. Tashi Tsering, head of the Tibet Justice Center delegation to the World Summit on Sinable Development, provided testimony today on Tibetan human security issues at a public hearing convened by the UN-sponsored Human Security Commission. The Commission will compile testimony and prepare a report for submission to UN agencies sometime next year.

The request was spurred by UN agencies' desire to define more clearly the essential elements of human security and threats to security, and their relationship to sustainable development.

"Growing up in a refugee settlement in India, surrounded by a loving family and community, I did not realize I was not welcome in this world," said Tsering. "Although I was born on this planet, there is nowhere I can call home." He explained that even Tibetans born in India, as he was, must renew permission to stay there and to travel outside of their refugee settlements. Tsering went on to describe the fears of stateless people. "At any moment, if something happened, I could be deported to Chinese-occupied Tibet, without the benefit of a friendly government to protect me. Without that protection, I would be sent to a place where I would surely face imprisonment for my activities on behalf of Tibetan self-determination."

Tsering represents Tibet Justice Center, a Berkeley, California-based NGO and one of only three organizations supporting Tibet that applied for accreditation to the official World Summit on Sustainable Development. All three organizations were denied access to the official conference as a result of China's political objections to their support for Tibetans. China does "not want informed and outspoken Tibetans like me to tell you that my country is being used as a resource extraction colony under the veil of sustainable development," commented Tsering. "In occupied Tibet, my people face genocidal policies. Since the Chinese military invasion of Tibet in 1949, more than a million Tibetans have died as a direct result of China's actions."

In spite of China's objections, a 20-member Tibetan delegation is at the Summit and the parallel Civil Society Forum to make sure Tibetan issues are included in the global conversation on sustainable development. Tibet Justice Center is hosting two panel presentations during the Summit, one on foreign occupation, self-determination, and sustainable development, and a second on transboundary rivers and human security.

"Human security is not just the absence of personal threats at the moment," concluded Tsering, "but is also a future in which there are permanent opportunities to live a creative and free life. Such a life is not available for stateless persons and those under foreign occupation."

Contact: D'Arcy Richardson in Johannesburg 082 858-3884

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