A number of Governments and Parliaments around the world have expressed their concern about the crisis in Tibet; in many cases these statements were made in response to calls by Tibet advocates and supporters that they speak out. The clickable map below highlights a number of such statements of concern.
We now call upon these governments to Stand Together for Tibet, and urge them to use their combined voices to persuade the government of the People’s Republic of China to lift the crackdown in Tibet, and to cease policies and practices that are exacerbating tensions and grievances felt by the Tibetan people.
With thanks to International Campaign for Tibet for compiling some of the following statements.
19 March 2012: Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr issued a statement of concern about the deteriorating situation in Tibet, and announced that the Australian Government was seeking permission for a diplomatic delegation to visit Tibet on a fact-finding mission.
United Nations Human Rights Council:
21 June 2012: The Belgian delegations to the 20th Council session in Geneva spoke publicly about the worsening human rights situation in Tibet. They raised their concern about the current crackdown in Tibet, the brutal repression of Tibetan demonstrations by Chinese authorities and the self-immolation of Tibetans.
14 December 2012
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird
“I am concerned about the escalating number of self-immolations in Tibetan areas of China and the increasingly punitive measures being taken in response, which further exacerbate tensions in the region.
“Canada supports Tibetans’ freedoms of expression, assembly and association. That anyone should feel such an end is justified by these means is a striking testament to Tibetans’ deep yearning for greater religious, linguistic and cultural rights.
“Canada encourages China to give full consideration to the traditions and culture of the Tibetan population in a manner that will help ease tensions. We call on China to lift restrictions on access to the affected areas for the diplomats, media and other observers.
“We urge China to engage in substantive and meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives in working toward a peaceful resolution of outstanding issues that is acceptable to both sides.” View On-line
2 November 2011: Four Members of the Canadian Parliament, representing all four federal political parties, spoke up for Tibet in the Canadian House of Commons in solidarity with the Tibetan people.
United Nations Human Rights Council:
21 June 2012:At the 20th Council Session in Geneva, Canada expressed concern about Chinese government policies restricting religious practices.
United Nations Human Rights Council:
17 September 2012: “The Czech Republic remains deeply concerned about the deterioration of the situation in Tibetan-inhabited areas where increasing restrictions on religious freedom have led to a series of self-immolation cases. A number of Tibetan intellectuals and cultural figures have been recently imprisoned for excercising their right to freedom of expression, such as Mr. Yonten Gyatso reportedly sentenced over sending information to the Human Rights Council.”
29 February 2012: Deputy-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, “With serious unease, we follow the continued escalation of tensions in Tibetan areas of China as evidenced by a spate of self-immolations. Last year, 22 Tibetans decided to act in such a tragic way in order to wake up the establishment and attract our attention. [..] We reiterate our call on the Chinese authorities to allow unhindered access to all areas for international monitoring." View more
United Nations Human Rights Council:
March 2012: As the holder of the EU Presidency, Denmark issued a statement at the 19th Council session which said "The EU is alarmed by recent reports of violent oppression of protests in Tibetan populated areas leading to many injured and several fatalities. The EU calls on the authorities to allow all Tibetans including monks to exercise their cultural and religious rights and to refrain from the use of force against peaceful protest and to improve the human rights situation in Tibet and in other parts of China. This statment was issued on behalf of 34 countries including non-EU members Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania and Liechtenstein." View More
The European Union has made a number of statements and oral responses about the situation in Tibet.
Statements by the EU High Representative:
14 December 2012
Declaration by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union on Tibetan self-immolations
"The EU is profoundly saddened by the increasing number of Tibetans committing self-immolation, many of them young people.
We are concerned by the restrictions on expressions of Tibetan identity, which appear to be giving rise to a surge of discontent in the region. While respecting China’s territorial integrity, the EU calls upon the Chinese authorities to address the deep-rooted causes of the frustration of the Tibetan people and ensure that their civil, political, economic and social and cultural rights are respected, including their right to enjoy their own culture, to practise their own religion and to use their own language.
The EU fully supports the statement made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay on 2 November 2012. The EU calls upon the Chinese authorities to respect the rights of Tibetans to peaceful assembly and expression, to act with restraint, and to release all individuals detained for taking part in peaceful demonstrations.
We also urge Chinese authorities to allow free access to all Tibetan autonomous areas for diplomats as well as for international journalists.
Recognising their intense sense of despair, the EU calls on Tibetans to refrain from resorting to extreme forms of protest, such as self-immolation, and on their community and religious leaders to use their influence to help stop this tragic loss of life.
Finally, the EU encourages all concerned parties to resume a meaningful dialogue." PDF Version
12 June 2012: During a debate on Tibet in the European Parliament, Baroness Ashton said, "The European Union is concerned by the deterioration of the situation in Tibet, as illustrated by the wave of self immolations and by clashes between the police and the local population since the beginning of the year. In recent days, the EU has been particularly concerned by the news of mass arrests and detentions taking place in the Tibetan Autonomous Region following self-immolations in Lhasa, as well as at reports that the TAR, has been closed to foreigners..... The EU calls upon the Chinese authorities to ensure that the human rights of the Tibetan people are respected, including their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly... The EU also urges the Chinese authorities to exercise restraint and to allow access by foreign diplomats and journalists to all Tibetan autonomous areas." Read More.
25 November 2011: Lady Ashton urged China "to address the root causes of the self-immolations – in particular the lack of genuine participation by the Tibetan population in the development policy in the region." Read More.
United Nations Human Rights Council:
17 September 2012: Cyprus, as holders of the EU Presidency issued a statement stating "The EU remains seriously concerned about ongoing reports of human rights violations in China, particularly with regard to freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief, and the situation of minorities, including in Tibet and Xinjiang. The EU continues to discuss these concerns with the Chinese leadership at multiple levels and through various channels."
22 June 2012: Denmark, as holders of the EU Presidency issued a statement about the deterioration of the situation in Tibetan areas, and the news of mass arrests and detentions following self-immolations in Lhasa and elsewhere View here.
March 2012: Denmark, as holders of the EU Presidency, issued a strong statement on behalf of the European Union (for more detail see Denmark & View here).
14 June 2012: Among many expressions of support for Tibet from Members of the European Parliament, the Parliament as a whole passed a robust resolution in June 2012, expressing profound concern about the situation in Tibet and calling for the appointment of a EU Special Coordinator for Tibet. Read the full resolution text here.
12 January 2012 : French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alain Juppé stated "France is worried about the situation in Tibet and the escalation of tensions which have been observed since few months, in particular in the area of the Kirti monastery, China's Sichuan province, where violent incidents took place. France deplores the death by immolation of young Tibetan monks. The extreme character of their gesture reflects the desperation of their situation. France is deeply concerned about the rapid increase in the number of immolations since the end of September 2011. [...] France, and the EU, calls upon both parties to dialogue and is convinced that dialogue is the only way to reach a durable solution, which fully respects the cultural and spiritual identity of Tibetans, within the framework of the People's Republic of China.
United Nations Human Rights Council Statements:
22 June 2012: France issued a statement about concerns of human rights violations in China and said " The desperate acts of self-immolations by Tibetans are a source of great concern" View more
March 2012: France confirmed that it supported the statement given by Denmark on behalf of the European Union. France added; "In China the serious human rights violations as well as the fundamental violations of freedoms are grounds for serious concern. There are many acts of young Tibetans setting fire to themselves and these are mainly monks and this is a grave concern." View more
12 February 2012: German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights, Markus Löning, called on China to rethink its Tibet policy after the recent self-immolations of three monks: “Further repressions won’t lessen the desperation. The Chinese government should frame its policy bring to an end to the existing tensions in the Tibetan areas.”
4 February 2012: Chancellor Angela Merkel, following a visit to China, said "We spoke about the overall situation of human rights. The issue of Tibet also came up as one of many subjects that certainly gave us concern."
24 January 2012 : German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, Markus Löning, stated “I am very concerned about reports of Tibetans being killed and injured yet again during demonstrations. Peaceful demonstrations are guaranteed by the right of freedom of speech. They should also stay peaceful. I demand that the Chinese government to respect this right. I call on the Chinese government to act in a de-escalative manner in view of the tense situation in this region and to respect the culture and religion of the Tibetans.”
21 October 2011: Press Statement; "The federal government is horrified at the rising number of self-immolations in the Tibetan regions of Southwest-China. The foreign office urged China on Friday to shape their policies in a way that existing tensions are relieved."
8 February 2012: The Italian Parliament adopted a Tibet Resolution, which said, "The Italian Chamber of Deputies adopted unanimously in the Foreign Affairs Commission the "Tibet Resolution" calling on the People's Republic of China to; stop immediately violence in Tibet and in all other Tibetan areas, resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama, open Tibet to international media. The "Tibet Resolution" also calls on the Italian Government to promote a monitoring initiative on human rights violations in Tibet at the United Nations competent bodies."
7 March 2012: Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, had an exchange of views with representatives from Friends of Tibet Luxembourg. Asselborn stated he shared the concerns of Friends of Tibet, and was worried by the major despair which is at the origin of these extreme acts. He also stressed that these messages are transmitted to Chinese authorities within the framework of political contacts as well as in the Framework of the EU-China Human Rights dialogue.
27 June 2012: The Luxembourg Parliament unanimously passed a resolution expressing concern about the situation in Tibet.
28 October 2011: Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs replied to the Tibetan Community in Poland stating, "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is watching developments around the Kirti monastery with the utmost care and concern. Particularly moving is information regarding new acts of self-immolation among young Tibetans - their tragic loss of life are the cause of sincere sorrow of Polish society. Poland supports the establishment of dialogue between the authorities of the PRC and the Dalai Lama's representatives, which would lead to an agreement allowing the Tibetans to nurture their cultural identity, while respecting the territorial integrity of China. We also believe that it is necessary that the international community's dialogue with the PRC stresses the observance of generally accepted human rights standards. Poland, in dealing with their European partners, consistently supports the fact that human rights was one of the important dimensions of the EU's relations with Beijing."
United Human Right Council Statements:
17 September 2012: "Sweden also reiterates its concern about the human rights situation in China, including setbacks in the areas of rule of law and freedom of expression and harassment of human rights defenders. Sweden calls on China to ensure the rights of persons belonging to minorities, including in Tibet and Xinjiang, are fully respected."
June 2012: In an Item 4 Statement Sweden made gave serious concern to the "heavy-handed measures against Tibetans by Chinese authorities" and called for assurances "that the human rights of persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, notably in Tibet and Xinjiang, are fully respected, including their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion or belief, as well as the right to enjoy their own culture and use their own language"
22 November 2011: Swiss Foreign Ministry made a statement to the Swiss news agency that “the self-immolations as such and the desperation they express are very worrying”. The spokesman added that Switzerland regularly raised human rights issues, and particularly that of Tibet, with China.
18 December 2012
Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire
Following a European Union statement on self-immolations in Tibet, Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said:
"We strongly support the recent statement from Baroness Ashton about the situation in Tibet. We continue to have serious concerns about the human rights situation there, including the self-immolations in Tibetan regions.
"We urge the Chinese authorities to exercise restraint. At the same time, I join Baroness Ashton in calling on Tibetans not to resort to extreme forms of protest such as self-immolation, and urge their community and religious leaders to use their influence to stop this tragic loss of life. We strongly support the resumption of meaningful dialogue to resolve the underlying grievances of Tibetan communities.
"I also urge the Chinese government to ensure unrestricted access to the Tibetan Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas of China for diplomats, international media and other concerned parties. We believe a long term solution is best achieved through respect for universal principles of human rights and genuine autonomy for Tibet within the framework of the Chinese constitution." Read in Full
25 January 2012: Foreign Office Minister, Jeremy Browne, "I am deeply concerned at reports that Chinese security forces have fired upon protesters on two occasions in Tibetan areas of Sichuan, resulting in casualties. I urge the Chinese government to exercise restraint, to release full details of the incidents, and to work to resolve the underlying grievances.”
7 December 2011: Henry Bellingham, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in response to questions raised in UK Parliament, "The Government are seriously concerned about recent reports of self-immolations among nuns in the Tibetan areas of Sichuan province. We have closely followed those reports and other developments in the region. […] I assure my right hon. Friend that we will continue to urge the Chinese authorities to allow access to Tibetan areas for foreign diplomats and journalists" Read in full
29 November 2011: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office, William Hague, in response to Questions "We are seriously concerned about recent reports that young monks and nuns in Tibetan areas of Sichuan province have immolated themselves. As I said, we have taken that up with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, and with the Chinese embassy in London. We encourage, of course, the resolution of grievances that have led to that situation. We will continue to encourage the Chinese Government to take that constructive approach."
United Nations Human Rights Council Statements:
17 September 2012: The UK reiterated its support of the EU statement with concern about the human rights violations in China, particularly in Tibet and Xinjiang.
March 2012: "The UK is concerned by the number of politically motivated detentions in China and by the violent suppression of protests in Tibetan areas. The UK calls on China to safeguard the civil, political and cultural rights of all of its citizens in line with its international obligations." View more
11 December 2012
Maria Otero, Under Secretary of State and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues
Delivered by Daniel Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the EU Mission To The US concerning their joint "focus of common strategic engagement”
"as a good example, European governments, including Germany, UK, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Poland, have joined the call for Chinese authorities to address the worsening human rights conditions in Tibetan areas.
The United States is deeply concerned and saddened by the continuing violence in Tibetan areas of China and the increasing frequency of self-immolations by Tibetans.
Chinese authorities have responded to these tragic incidents with measures that tighten already strict controls on the freedoms of religion, expression, assembly and association of Tibetans. Official rhetoric that denigrates the Tibetan language, the Dalai Lama, and those that have self-immolated has further exacerbated tensions.
The United States government has consistently urged the Chinese government to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions. These policies include increasingly severe government controls on Tibetan Buddhist religious practice and monastic institutions; education practices that undermine the preservation of Tibetan language; intensive surveillance, arbitrary detentions and disappearances of Tibetans, including youth and Tibetan intellectual and cultural leaders; escalating restrictions on news, media and communications; and the use of force against Tibetans seeking peacefully to exercise their universal human rights. Read in Full
30 October 2012
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke to an online forum "We implore the Chinese to really meet with the representatives of the Tibetan people to address and re-examine some of the policies that have led to some of the restrictions and the violence and the self-immolations,” Locke said. “We have very serious concerns about the violence, of the self-immolations, that have occurred over the last several years,” he said, calling the incidents “very deplorable”. “Nobody wants that type of action, or of people having to resort to that type of action. Too many deaths,” he said.
12 July 2012: Referring to a meeting between Secretary Clinton and China's Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi, the State Department said "And the Secretary, as is the case in all circumstances, raised both human rights issues, specific cases, and called on the Chinese to continue a serious dialogue with the Dalai Lama."
5 April 2012: US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner, in response to questions during a Daily Press Briefing, "Certainly we’ve been very vocal. And I would refer you to the numerous public statements we’ve made about our concerns about increasing these self-immolations and China’s actions vis-a-vis Tibet."
28 March 2012: US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, in response to questions during a Daily Press Briefing, "We remain deeply concerned about the tensions and the human rights violations in the Tibetan areas. China’s own continuing vilification of the Dalai Lama and repeated accusations with regard to the Dalai Lama and saying that he’s directly involved adds to the Tibetan grievances and just makes the situation worse. So we continue to call on China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and to allow journalists in, et cetera."
2 March 2012: Statement by Under Secretary Maria Otero, Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, "The United States remains gravely concerned about recent violence and continuing tensions in Tibetan areas of China. We call on all governments including China to respect the fundamental freedoms of religion and expression of all of its citizens including members of ethnic minorities."
9 January 2012: US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, in response to questions during a Daily Press Briefing, "We are seriously concerned by reports that three more Tibetans have self-immolated over the past few days. Since March, this brings the count to some 15 Tibetan Buddhist self-immolations in China. We have consistently – the U.S. Government has consistently and directly raised with the Chinese Government this issue of Tibetan self-immolation."
10 November 2011: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, "We have made very clear our serious concerns about China's record on human rights. We are alarmed by recent incidents in Tibet of young people lighting themselves on fire in desperate acts of protest. We continue to call on China to embrace a different path."
United Nations Human Rights Council Statement:
June & March 2012: " We urge [China] to re-assess policies that undermine Tibetan and Uighur linguistic, religious and cultural traditions creating grievances and fostering unrest." View more
Congressional (Parliamentary) Statements:
9 March 2012: Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the House, issued a Statement on the Anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day; "With the Chinese military presence growing in recent months and more desperate Tibetans subjecting themselves to self-immolations, the need for action, for a substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama, for an end to violence and a commitment to peace, is as urgent as ever. We call on the Chinese government to cease its religious repression, allow access to the region by journalists and international observers…"
8 February 2012: Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the House, “In recent weeks, the Chinese government has intensified its crackdown; there have been reports of indiscriminate shootings by Chinese police forces resulting in the loss of life and injuries. Further, the disturbing trend of self-immolations by Tibetans reflect the desperation of the human rights situation and the need for the Chinese government to change its repressive policies against the Tibetan people. The Tibetan people have legitimate grievances after decades of harsh rule. They have been economically marginalized in their own land, imprisoned for peacefully expressing their political views, and forced to endure ‘patriotic education’ campaigns to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama." [Otero issued a similar strong statement on 24 January]