Joint Declaration of the Committee for Human Rights of the German Parliament on the self-immolations of Tibetans

On 24 April 2013 the Human Rights Committee of the German Parliament, the Bundestag, passed a Joint Declaration on self-immolations in Tibet.

A Joint Declaration, by protocol, is not a resolution, but more than a mere press release or statement. TheCommittee has only passed five such declarations in the past four years, on Syria, Russia and Iran. 

Text of the Joint Declaration:

The Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid is deeply alarmed and shocked by the high number of self-immolations in Tibet and urges the Chinese leadership to safeguard the human rights of Tibetans including their religious and cultural identity.

The number of hopeless people, who end their lives in this agonizing manner, is consistently rising. The significant rise of self-immolations is an expression of deepest desperation about the lack of freedom, as well as about non-existent freedom of religion and the refusal of the Chinese leadership to respect a unique cultural identity.

We urge the new Chinese leadership to open up a new chapter in their relations to the Tibetans, to look into the causes of these desperate acts and to bring about necessary reforms. The Chinese leadership must respect the human rights of the Tibetans and their right to live their own culture and religion. Hence, we urge the Chinese leadership to end the control of religious life and to stop the repression of the authorities. At the same time we demand from the Chinese leadership to re-start the dialogue with Tibet and the Tibetans which is inactive since 2010, in order to find a solution that is appropriate to the unique cultures of the Chinese and the Tibetans, and in order to prevent such acts of desperation like the self-immolations in the future.

We ask the Tibetans, according to the statements of the Tibetan political and religious authorities, to express their protest in a different manner than through violence against oneself. The principle of non-violence as described by Tibetan scholars also means refraining from violence against oneself. Every human life is precious and unique. We appeal to the religious leaders of the Tibetans to continue to be committed to ask their brothers and sisters in faith to refrain from further self-immolations and to reduce the tragic loss of life.

We strongly support the statements on this troublesome development, as given lately by the UN-High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, by the Sub-Committee for Human Rights of the European Parliament and by the High Representative of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, as well as the statements by numerous parliaments, organisations and important persons who have commented similarly. We also support the call for access for UN-diplomats, parliamentarians and journalists to Tibet.

We ask the Federal Government to continue to work bilaterally and on the international level towards an improvement of the situation in Tibet and while doing so, to also make use of the German Dialogue on Law and the EU-Human Rights Dialogue with China.

(Unofficial translation by the International Campaign for Tibet)

To see the original version in German click here