04/21/2009, 00.00

Durban II: pro-Tibet groups discriminated

Nirmala Carvalho
China objects to the participation of pro-Tibet human rights groups. The Conference’s accreditation committee postpones a decision, de facto excluding them. Tibetan leader in exile slams Chinese racism and China’s anti-Tibetan cultural genocide.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has protested for its exclusion from the United Nations Review Conference on Racism that began yesterday in Geneva (Switzerland) following objections by the People's Republic of China (PRC).

In an exclusive interview with AsiaNews TCHRD Executive Director Urgen Tenzin said this was a missed opportunity to highlight the systemic racism practiced by Chinese authorities against Tibetans.

China objected to applications for accreditation by Tibetan groups’ like the TCHRD even though their standing in international fora, including UN meetings, has been recognised in the past.

Urgen noted that the “TCHRD was accredited to the Durban Conference in 2001” despite “objections from the PRC.” Thus “we should have been automatically eligible for this conference and this time.”

“Racism is endemic in the Tibetan areas of present day China as a result of state policy,” he said. The “UN Conference is a platform, an international platform where Tibetan grievances could have been voiced; now that is no longer possible.”

Tibetans have accused China of cultural genocide. They are especially critical of Beijing’s policy of encouraging the mass settlement of ethnic Han Chinese in their country.

Settlers from China now have a stranglehold over commerce and positions of power.

At the same time the Tibetan language and culture are banned from public spaces.

The net result is that as the number of Chinese settlers pouring into Tibet continues to grow, the indigenous population is becoming increasingly marginalised in its own country.

The TCHRD calls on the conference and individual states to point out countries that practice and encourage racism.

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