FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON – David Anderson, Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills—Grasslands and Official Opposition Critic for International Human Rights and Religious Freedom; and David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Flamborough—Glanbrook and Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on International Human Rights, have submitted a letter to the Hon. Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs calling for increased Government of Canada support for persecuted cultural and ethnic minorities in Tibet.
“The repression of free thought, religion and expression of the Tibetan people at the hands of the Chinese regime has existed for decades,” said David Anderson. “Now is the time for Canada to take the lead on addressing these systemic issues through targeted, on-the-ground action with the Tibetan people.”
Signed by Anderson and Sweet, the letter calls for a partnership between Canada’s new Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion and the Tibetan administration, or Canada-based Tibetan human rights NGOs.
The letter was prepared following testimony delivered by Dr. Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration, or Tibet’s “government in exile,” at the November 23 meeting of the Sub-Committee. Dr. Sangay referred to a growing list of human rights violations taking place in Tibet, including cultural assimilation, controls on freedom of religion, the destruction of religious buildings, arbitrary and unlawful arrest of dissidents, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, violations of the right to freedom of movement, and restrictions on the right to free expression and assembly.
Sweet was direct in his evaluation of the human rights situation in Tibet, calling Chinese actions an “effort to totally eliminate Tibetan culture and language from the region.”
“It is our hope that this letter will motivate the Liberal government to take action, to build upon the meaningful relationship between Canada and the people of Tibet that was developed under the previous Conservative Government for the betterment of all human rights.”
A copy of the letter is attached to this news release.
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