Tibet’s Environment: Denuding, Degrading and Depopulating (by Tenzin Norbu)

Sinopsi de la conferència que TENZIN NORBU, Director del Environment and Development Desk (Central Tibetan Administration) , ha fet avui al Parlament Europeu. Poca broma amb el tema.

Tibet’s Environment: Denuding, Degrading and Depopulating

 

Abstract

 
Situated at the heart of Asia, Tibet is one of the most environmentally strategic and sensitive regions in the world. Scientists are increasingly calling the Tibetan Plateau as the ‘Water Tower of Asia’, ‘Barometer of Asia‘ and most importantly ‘The Third Pole’. For centuries, Tibetans have lived in harmony with nature based on the principles of simplicity, interdependence and non-violence enshrined in their religious beliefs, customs and taboos. However, the occupation of Tibet by People’s Republic of China (PRC) made way for the implementation of environmentally destructive policies and projects, which further accelerated the effects of global climate change on the ‘roof of the world’. Tibetan Plateau today is heating twice as fast as the global average and consequently, it is faced with a series of environmental challenges that not only affects its ecology but its social, political and economic attributes as well.

A large part of Tibet’s 2.5 million sq. km area has been grossly denuded due to the implementation of several development plans and policies by PRC since 1960s, including land-use policies, mining, deforestation, urbanization etc. Different grassland and livestock rearing policies to increase production have instead threatened the sustainability of the fragile environmental balance of this immense upland. Similarly, mining operations carried out with minimal participation of Tibetans and poor environmental safeguards, have resulted in pollution of land and water; destruction of grazing lands, soil erosion and loss of wildlife biodiversity, which in turn affects the livelihood of Tibetans. The large-scale deforestation that has already destroyed half of Tibet’s rich timber resource continues unabated even after the official logging ban declared after the disastrous floods of the middle and lower Yangtze River in 1998. Tibetans have been protesting across Tibet to voice their concern about these impacts on their ecology and livelihood.

The global climate change and local human-induced factors have caused a multi-faceted environmental degradation which further enhances the warming process. In the past few decades, the alpine glaciers are rapidly melting, vast permafrost layer are constantly reducing, river hydrology is swiftly declining, wetlands and lakes are constantly shrinking while stretches of grasslands are turning into arid region. The degradation of glacier, permafrost, wetlands, lakes and grassland which serves as a major carbon sink, leads to the release of huge amounts of green-house gases into the atmosphere, intensifying the already warming global climate.

As a response to the large-scale desertification of grassland, Chinese government is aggressively implementing a policy to depopulate millions of drogpas (Tibetan pastoral nomads) from their ancestral pastoral grounds by forcing them to abandon their livestock and settle them in socialist-style ghettos. Over half of the 2.45 million drogpas have been already been “resettled” under the guise of ecological protection and social development. These drogpas are faced with souring poverty, unemployment and social breakdown. Ironically, these drogpas have maintained a unique pastoral culture and has in-fact been the real guardians of these alpine pastures for more than 8000 years. Lands and pastures inhabited by Tibetan farmers and nomads are expropriated to make way for mining industries and hydro-power projects. China has dammed all the major rivers originating from Tibet, which supports over 1.3 billion people in Asia.

The effects of accelerating denudation, degradation and depopulation of Tibet’s fragile ecology will resonate for beyond the plateau, changing the water supply for billions of people and altering the atmospheric circulation over half the planet. With survival of Tibetans as well as almost half of humanity at stake, the need to save the Tibetan Plateau from ecological devastation is highly urgent, more than ever before.

Where is Sombath Somphone?

 

Urgency on the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone in Laos
My speech in the European Parliament on 07.02.2013

 

On 15 December 2012, Sombath Somphone became victim of an enforced disappearance according to automatic camera footage, just after being stopped by police officers at Thadeua checkpoint in the Sisattanak district of Vientiane.

First his car was being driven away while he was discussing with the police officer in order to be later driven away in a truck himself.

Sombath Somphone is widely appreciated and well-known for his extensive work in the fields of sustainable and fair development, and access to land. 

In October 2012, Sombath Somphone, as part of the Lao National Organizing Committee, was one of the partners in organizing in Vientiane of the ” 9th Asia-Europe People’s Forum, ahead of the ASEM 9; and one of the key speakers of it,

 
During this Forum, farmers invited by him brought to the attention of participants the situation of Lao farmers being deprived of their land for the building of megaprojects, some of them co-financed by international finance institutions and corporations, including European corporations.
 
Many of us are deeply concerned about the whereabouts and safety of Sombath Somphone.
 
The length, and the lack of transparency of the investigation, is also a major problem.
 
Thus, we urge Lao authorities to inform Sombath Somphone’s family about the progress of the investigations, and call on the government to ensure that all steps are being taken to locate, rescue and return him safely to his family as soon as possible.
 
I appeal to the government of Laos and to the other ASEAN member states, to underline publicly the legality and the legitimacy of the work for sustainable development and social justice, in order to counter intimidation efforts and forced disappearances of activists.
 

Persecució, frustració i autoimmolacions al Tibet

Malauradament és cada cop més evident que els Jocs Olímpics no van suposar una millora pel que fa al respecte dels drets humans a la Xina en general, i encara menys al Tibet en particular. La persecució dels tibetans per part de les autoritats xineses, i en particular dels monjos budistes, ha portat a situacions tan extremes com és per exemple l’autoimmolació de diversos monjos i monges que han tingut lloc els darrers dies. N’hem volgut parlar avui, al Parlament Europeu, en una resolució:  

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Tibet, in particular the self-immolation by nuns and monks

by Raül Romeva i Rueda, Eva Lichtenberger, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Helga Trüpel, Barbara Lochbihler, Rui Tavares on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on China and Tibet, in particular its resolution of 25 November 2010, 

– having regard to article 36 of the Constitution of the PRC, which guarantees all citizens the right to freedom of religious belief,

–  having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rule of Procedure,

A. whereas the respect of the human rights and freedom of identity, culture and religion is a founding principle of the EU and a priority of its foreign policy,

B. whereas the Chinese government has imposed drastic restrictions on Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the Aba prefecture of Sichuan province and other parts of the Tibetan plateau including brutal security raids, arbitrary detention of monks, increased surveillance within monasteries and a permanent police presence inside the monasteries to monitor religious activities,

C. whereas these security measures are designed to curtail the right to free expression, association and religious belief in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries,

D. whereas Phuntsog, age 20, and Tsewang Norbu, 29-year old, died after setting fire to themselves, respectively on 16 March and 15 August  2011, as a protest against Chinese restrictive policies in Tibet,

E. whereas the younger brother of Phuntsog, Lobsang Kelsang and Lobsang Kunchok, both aged 18, set fire to themselves in the Ngaba County market on 26 September, whereas although they survived, their present conditions remain unclear,

F. whereas in the following months 17 year old monk of Kirti monastery Kelsang Wangchuk, 19-year old former monk Choephel, 18 year old former monk Kayang and 19 year old former monk Norbu Damdrul,  immolated themselves,

G. whereas on 17 October a nun from Ngaba Mamae Dechen Choekorling Nunnery, Tenzin Wangmo, aged 20, died as the first female to commit self-immolation,

H. whereas all monks have reportedly called for religious freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama before committing self-immolation,

I. whereas in March 2011, following the first immolation incident, armed personnel surrounded the Kirty monastery and cut off its access to food and water for several days; whereas the new security officials dispatched to the monastery  imposed a new compulsory “patriotic education” campaign and more than 300 monks were taken away in military trucks and detained in unspecified locations to undergo several weeks of political indoctrination,

J. whereas security measures and harsh restrictions have exacerbated tension and self-immolation is seen as a form of protest and expression of increasing desperation of young Tibetan people, especially within the Kirti monastery’s community,

K. whereas whatever the personal motivations, these acts must be considered in the larger context of religious and political repression in Aba that can be traced back many years,

L. whereas current regulations have dramatically expended state control over religious life with many expressions of religious identity being subject to state approval and control, including the recognition of reincarnate lamas,

M. whereas over the last months the Chinese authorities have tightened security in regions with Tibetan populations, especially in the surroundings of the Kirti monastery, with journalists and foreigners being banned from visiting the region and police in full riot gear patrol the monastery,

1. Expresses its deep concern and regret at the reports, since last April, of eight Tibetan Buddhist monks and one nun self-immolating near the Ngaba Kirti monastery in China’s Sichuan province;

2. Calls on the Chinese authorities to respect the rights of Tibetans in all the provinces of China and to act in a proactive manner to resolve the underlying grievances of China’s Tibetan population;

3. Urges the Government of the People’s Republic of China to provide full clarification on the status of the 300 monks who were taken away from the Kirti monastery in April 2011 and about which several Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, including the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, have intervened; calls on the Government of the People’s Republic of China to release information on all those detained in the eastern Tibetan region since 16 March 2011, especially their current whereabouts and wellbeing and proceed to their immediate release;

4. Urges the Government of the People’s Republic of China to be accountable for the status of those Tibetans who have been “hospitalized” after their self-immolations, including the access to their medical treatment;

5. Calls on the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to take immediately action in order to express the concern of the European Union for the escalating situation in Aba county urging for human rights and fundamental freedoms and restraint of security police;

6. Calls on the European Union and its Member States to pressure the Chinese authorities into a negotiated solution of the ongoing crises in Tibetan monasteries, especially in Kirti;

7. Reiterates its call to the Council to appoint a EU Special Representative for Tibet with a view to facilitating the resumption of dialogue between the Chinese authorities and the envoys of the Dalai Lama on the definition of a genuine status of autonomy of Tibet within the People’s Republic of China;  

8. Calls on the Chinese authorities to review and improve inappropriate policies that do not meet the need of the Tibetan populations, in the regions of  Sichuan, Gansu, Yunan and Qinhai, places where violations of human rights have created tensions;

9.Calls on the EU HR/VP Commission Lady Ashton to raise human rights issue at the EU-China Summit on 25 October in Tianjin , together with the President of the European Commission and of the European Council in order to clearly protect Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity during their official speeches at the opening or closing of the Summit;

10.  Calls on the EEAS and the EU delegation in China to constantly monitor the human rights situation in China and to present a report to the EP within the next twelve months, suggesting actions to do or policy to implement;

11.  Urges the People’s Republic of China to respect religious freedoms and basic human rights of the monastic and lay communities in the Aba province and suspend implementation of religious control regulations, review religious and security policies implemented since 2008, and begin a transparent dialogue with the leaders of Tibetan Buddhist schools;

12.  Calls on the People’s Republic of China to withdraw military and other armed personnel surrounding Kirti monastery and hand over the entire day-to-day management of the monastery to the monks and allow unhindered atmosphere of religious activity for both the monks and the lay people;

13.  Calls on the People’s Republic of China to lift the military siege in Aba province and allow independent and neutral observers to the region;

14.  Urges the Government of the People’s Republic of China to respect internationally agreed standards on human rights and abide by its obligations to international human rights conventions with respect to freedom of religion or belief;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the HR/VP, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member states, the Government and Parliament of the People’s Republic of China.

Foto: Alguns dels joves monjos que s’han immolat recentment. Font: FreeTibet.

Burma: les eleccions de la dictadura

En tant que membre del European Parliamentary Caucus on Burma, faig pública la carta que hem enviat a diverses autoritats europees i internacionals en relació a les eleccions que van tenir lloc a Birmània el passat 7 de novembre, i que considero antidemocràtiques i injustes.

Statement of the European Parliamentary Caucus on Burma on the elections
November 8th, 2010

We, the members of the European Parliamentary Caucus on Burma, are expressing our
concern with the elections that were held in Burma on November 7th and call on the international community to not recognize its results.

The government of Burma has, since 2003, rejected every single proposal by the United Nations and international community to reform its seven-stage ‘roadmap to democracy’, including reforming the 2008 constitution and making elections on 7th November free and fair.

Burma
’s 2008 constitution, which comes into force after the election, is designed to
maintain dictatorship in a civilian guise, and does not grant any human rights or prospect for genuine change.

The constitution does not protect or address the concerns, rights and aspirations of
Burma’s ethnic minorities, and the President of Burma appoints all ministers in State and Regional Parliaments, including the Chief Minister. No repressive laws are repealed by the 2008 constitution and the military will hold twenty-five percent of seats in Parliament, enough to veto any constitutional change.

Political parties in Burma have faced severe restrictions in the run up to the elections
and are unable to operate freely. For example, the costs of fielding candidates in the elections has been set extremely high, thereby stopping opposition parties from being able to field candidates in many constituencies. Besides that, voting was not allowed to take place in many ethnic areas.

Almost 2,200 political prisoners still remain in detention, many of whom have been
tortured and face daily mistreatment, and that this number has almost doubled since 2007. Aung San Suu Kyi remains in detention, in violation of international law, and under Burmese law should be released on November 13th. Her party, the National League for Democracy and nine other political parties have been effectively banned by the dictatorship. From the above mentioned conditions it is clear that the elections in Burma held on 7th November were not free and fair.

We are appealing to the countries of the European Union to ensure the following steps
after the elections:

1. We call on the European Union to reject the outcome of the elections and the new
government as illegitimate and not representing the genuine will of the people.

2. We believe the European Union should maintain existing targeted economic
sanctions against Burma until a genuine process of reform has begun in Burma and the relaxation of sanctions has the support of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the Building support for democracy and human rights for Burma National League for Democracy. It is necessary to ensure that existing sanctions are properly monitored and implemented.

3. We are joining the call of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Burma who has
condemned ‘gross and systematic’ human rights abuses committed by Burma’s dictatorship, stating that they constitute ‘a state policy that involves authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels’, and has called for the establishment of a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the dictatorship.

We welcome the public support for a UN Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and
crimes against humanity from the government of Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia and United Kingdom. It is time that the European Union publicly supported the recommendation of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Burma to establish a Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma, and include the establishment of an inquiry in the Burma Resolution at the United Nations General Assembly.

4. We would like to see the European Union renew efforts to secure genuine tripartite
dialogue between Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, genuine ethnic representatives, and the government of Burma, with the aim of securing national reconciliation and a transition to democracy. The European Union should work together for a more unified international approach to Burma, led by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, rather than the international community pursuing multiple low-level unilateral initiatives.

5. We call on the European Union to make the release of political prisoners a priority in
any discussions with the dictatorship in Burma.

About EPCB: The European Parliamentary Caucus on Burma was founded in June 2008 to raise awareness on Burma in Europe and promote human rights and democracy in Burma. It represents 16 European countries with more than 160 MPs. Administrative support for the European Parliamentary caucus on Burma is being provided by Burma Campaign UK and People in Need in the Czech Republic.

For more information contact:

UK: Zoya Phan at +44 (0) 773 863 0139, zoya.phan@burmacampaign.org.uk

CR: Kristina Prunerova at +420 226 200 455, kristina.prunerova@peopleinneed.cz

Foto: Aung San Suu Kyi, líder del NDL, qui va boicotejar les eleccions. Font: AFP / BBC

Burma

Adjunto l’entrevista que em va fer fa uns dies el mitjà Mizzima en relació a la situació de Birmània. En elle reitero la necessitat que la UE no abaixi la guàrida al respecte, i alerto que les properes eleccions seran un frau, entre d’altres coses, pel fet que no s’hi podran presentar els principals partits opositors, inclòs el d’Aung San Suu Kyi. L’entrevista va tenir lloc el dia que vàrem organitzar al Parlament Europeu la performance Lady of Burma.

Spaniard works to keep Burma high on EU agenda

“There is a pressing urgency to prevent the EU from losing interest in what is going on in Burma” – Spanish Member of the European Parliament, Raul Romeva i Rueda

Tuesday, 13 July 2010 16:25 | Javier Delgado Rivera

Brussels (Mizzima) – Ahead of the forthcoming elections in Burma, Raul Romeva i Rueda, a Spanish Member of the European Parliament, spoke to Mizzima in the Brussels seat of the European chamber. He is vice-president of the Greens/European Free Alliance Group, the fourth largest bloc in the European Parliament.

In addition to being an outspoken advocate of freedom for the Burmese people, you are an executive committee member of the European Parliamentary Caucus on Burma (EPCB). This independent grouping consists of parliamentarians from 16 European countries committed to seeing a Burma free of brutality and suffering. What does ultimately the EPCB stand for?

The central aspiration of the EPCB is to raise awareness about the Burmese situation – to keep the issue alive in the EU institutions and governments. The EU has long expressed its steady engagement to champion the democratic transfer of power in Burma. At the EPCB, we work to ensure that Brussels’ determination to help the people of Burma remains in the mainstream of EU policymaking. Although the parliamentarians involved in the EPCB deal with different legislative margins, we all send the same message; that any move to comply with the current status quo in Burma is intrinsically wrong.

So there is a need to urge the EU to keep the situation in Burma high on its agenda

There is a pressing urgency to prevent the EU from losing interest in what is going on in Burma. This country falls a long way off from the EU’s most immediate region of concern, what sometimes is mirrored in the EU’s priorities. Furthermore the European Commission (EC) – the European Union’s executive body – is diminishing its humanitarian aid in Burma, as this kind of assistance does not appear to be a priority for them. An example of this is seen in the commission’s decision to cut funds to assist Burmese refugees along the Thai-Burmese border. The EC should make an additional effort to take care of the realities [the continuing needs of the Burmese refugees] that are yet to be met.

The EU’s policy on Burma lies in a set of sanctions designed to persuade the junta to lessen its overarching grip on the country – what is your assessment on the performance of these punitive measures?

The EU sanctions on the Burmese military and its bedfellows are only a tool to weaken the country’s dictatorial iron fist. If these sanctions are to bear fruit, the EU should sharpen its restrictions and bans. As a matter of fact, I am thinking particularly about sanctions equipped to curtail Chinese sales of weapons to Naypyidaw. The EU has so far failed to talk straight to the Chinese about Beijing’s role in perpetuating the current status quo in Burma. As a result, the EU’s approach to China regarding Burma is certainly unsound.

The Chinese leadership must understand that its rise in the international arena is bound to be tied to a leap of responsibility in the world’s affairs. An assertion that holds even truer in China’s neighbourhood.

If the EU seeks to make a difference in the international scene, it has to further engage itself in countries such as Burma. The core obstacle to get there is not the EU as an institution, but its member states. They are the ones setting the tone of EU policies.

Bearing in mind the tight conditions under which the country is going to hold elections – what can the Burmese opposition do to push reforms?

I think that, against all odds, the (internal and exiled) Burmese opposition is mature enough to take over from the military and command a scheme to open up the whole system.

Obviously, the junta is aware of this, and in a desperate attempt at self-preservation, flexes its muscles against nearly non-existent Burmese freedoms. The opposition and the country’s ethnic minorities require ample and effective external support; otherwise, the momentum will miserably fade away. Sadly, neither the EU nor the US has been able to provide such a reliable helping hand.

So, how do you see Burma after the elections?

I am not very positive that the forthcoming elections will change much in the country. To begin with, the constitutional framework over which the poll is to be held could not be more flawed. Does the junta expect us to buy its alleged commitment to reform if it keeps imprisoning anyone who dares to criticise its rulings? If the Burmese military is serious about opening up, it should first release all of the country’s political prisoners; any discourse of political liberalisation falls sort of credibility otherwise.

Foto: Durant la presentació de l’acte The Lady of Burma, amb Zoya Phan, refugiada birmana que viu a Londres i una de les més visibles activistes prodemocràcia de Birmània.

Burma, Burma again, still Burma

Ara fa uns mesos vaig visitar els camps de persones refugiades birmanes a la frontera amb Tailàndia, i em vaig reunir amb diversos grups opositors a la Junta Birmana, tant grups ètnics (Karen) com la Lliga Nacional per a la Democràcia, el partit de la Premi Sakharov, avui encara empresonada, Aung San Suu Kyi. Dos dels temes que preocupaven especialment era la retallada de recursos que la UE duu a terme de fa temps en relació a les ajudes als camps fronterers, i les eleccions convocades per la Junta, en el marc d’una reforma constitucional que podríem titllar de clarament ‘anticonstitucional’. Vaig agafar el compromís de, primer, demanar a la Comissió que no deixés els centenars de milers de persones desplaçades i refugiades sense l’ajuda europea, i segon, de no donar suport ni cobertura a les eleccions, almenys, mentre no es garantís el total i incondicional alliberament de les més de 2100 persones presoneres polítiques, es garantís la plena participació democràtica de totes les forces polítiques, i s’aturessin els nombrosos actes de vulneracions de drets humans (inclosos els atacs i persecucions a periodistes). Ho fet en reiterades ocasions, tal i com podeu comprobar en la categoria d’aquest bloc on guardo tots els apunts dedicats a Àsia Oriental.

Ahir, en el ple, ho vaig tornar a fer, en el marc del debat sobre les resolucions d’Urgència de drets humans a les quals habitualment ens dediquem els dijous per la tarda quan hi ha sessió plenària a Estrasburg. Adjunto a continuació la resolució que vàrem impulsar com a Verds/ALE. (segueix…)



9.2.2010 / B7?0110/2010

MOTION
FOR A RESOLUTION

with
request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of
human rights, democracy and the rule of law pursuant
to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure on
Burma

by Christian
Engström, Emilie Turunen, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Gerald Häfner, Heidi Hautala,
Barbara Lochbihler, Frieda Brepoels, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen
on
behalf of the Verts/ALE Group.

 

B7?0110/2010

European
Parliament resolution on Burma

The
European Parliament,

 

-having
regard to its previous resolution

-having
regard to European Council Conclusions – Declaration on Burma-Myanmar of 19 June 2009

-having
regard to the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on
the Karen civilians fleeing Burma/Myanmar of 11
June 2009

-having
regard to the Council
conclusions on Burma/Myanmar
– 2938th General Affairs Council meeting – Luxembourg, 27 April 2009

-having
regard to EU Presidency Statement calling for all-inclusive dialogue between
the authorities and the democratic forces in Burma/Myanmar – 23 February 2009

-having
regard to UN Secretary-General report on the situation of human rights in Myanmar28 August 2009

Declaration
of the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the arrest of Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi of 14 May 2009

-having
regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure,

 

A. whereas
Burma‘s human rights record
continues to deteriorate ahead of the announced elections in 2010; whereas citizens
are systematically denied basic freedoms including freedom of expression,
association, and assembly;

B.
whereas in 2009 the Burmanese government conducted two prisoner amnesties,
releasing 6,313 prisoners in February and 7,114 in September, but only 31 of
those released in February and an estimated 130 released in September were
political prisoners.; whereas an estimated 2,100 political prisoners remain in
prison including more than 230 Buddhist monks involved in the 2007 protests
remain in prison
;

C.
whereas the military continues to perpetrate human rights violations against
civilians in ethnic conflict areas, including extrajudicial killings, forced
labour and sexual violence;

D.
whereas Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for
Democracy (NLD), has been under house arrest since 2003; whereas on May 14,
2009, authorities arrested her on charges that she breached the terms of her
house arrest by permitting the visit of an American, John Yettaw; whereas on
August 11, 2009, a criminal court inside Insein prison in Rangoon sentenced Suu
Kyi to 3 years of imprisonment for violating her house arrest, a sentence which
was subsequently reduced to 18 months of house arrest;

E.
whereas for the first time after 20 years parliamentary elections are foreseen
at the end of 2010

F.
wwhereas in May 2009, attacks by the army and the Democratic Karen Buddhist
Army (DKBA) displaced thousands of civilians and forced an estimated 5,000
refugees into Thailand; whereas in late July attacks by Burmese army troops
against 39 villages in central Shan state displaced an estimated 10,000
civilians in the area

G.
whereas there are an estimated half-million internally displaced persons in
eastern Burma, over 140,000 refugees remain in nine camps along the
Thailand-Burma border and over 200 000 Rohingyas live in refugee camps or
scattered over southeastern Bangladesh; whereas Millions of Burmese migrants,
refugees, and asylum seekers live in Thailand, India, Bangladesh, and Malaysia and
are sometimes subject to trafficking
;

H.
whereas 3,000 ethnic Karen refugees who were forced to flee into Thailand in
June 2009 are facing forced return to Burma starting on February 5th; whereas the
“voluntary” repatriation, as it is being called, is anything but “voluntary”, the
refugees rightfully fear human rights abuses which await them upon their forced
return, such as forced labour and forced recruitment into regime-controlled
armed forces;

I.
whereas there has been an unprecedented crackdown by Bangladesh law enforcement
agencies against unregistered Rohingya refugees who had settled outside the two
official refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar District started on 2 January 2010; more than
500 Rohingyas have since been arrested; and some of those arrested were pushed
back across the Burmese border and others were charged under immigration
legislation and sent to jail;

J.
whereas that more than 5,000 self-settled Rohingya in Bangladesh already fled
their homes and flocked to the Kutupalong makeshift camp in Ukhia in search of
safety; which has not now swelled to an estimated of over 30,000, who do not
receive food assistance and are now denied access to livelihood as they would
face arrest if they leave the camp to find work;

K.
whereas Burma continues widespread
and systematic forced recruitment of child soldiers;

1.
Strongly condemns the ongoing systematic violations of human rights fundamental
freedoms and basic democratic rights of the people of Burma/Myanmar;

2.
Expresses grave concern at the recent trial, conviction and sentencing of Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi and calls for her immediate and unconditional release
;

3.
takes note of the government’s decision to organise elections and insists that
under the present conditions they cannot be considered free and democratic,
criticises notably the banning of Aung San Sui Kyi from standing as a candidate
;

4.
Reaffirms the essential importance of a process of dialogue and national
reconciliation for a transition to democracy; calls on the Government of Myanmar
to immediately start a genuine dialogue with the National League for
Democracy  and all other concerned
parties and ethnic groups
; welcomes in this context the mediation efforts by
the UN Secretary-General and his Special rapporteur on Burma;

5.
Urges the Government of Myanmar to release all prisoners of conscience without
delay, without conditions and with full restoration of their political rights
and to desist from further politically motivated arrest
s;

6.
Strongly urges the Government of Myanmar to take without delay the necessary
steps to ensure  a free, fair,
transparent and inclusive electoral process, including by enacting the required
electoral laws and allowing the participation of all voters, all political
parties, and all other relevant stakeholders in the electoral process and accept
international observers
;

7.
Calls upon the Government of Myanmar to lift restrictions on the freedom of
assembly, association, movement and freedom of expression, including for free
and independent media, including through the openly available and accessible
use of Internet and mobile telephone services, and ending the use of
censorship.

8.
Expresses its grave concern at the continuing practice of arbitrary detentions,
enforced disappearances, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and
cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and strongly calls upon the Government
of Myanmar to ensure a full, transparent, effective, impartial and independent
investigation into all reports of human rights violations, and to bring to
justice those responsible in order to end impunity for such crimes;

9.
Expresses concern about the conditions in prisons and other detention
facilities, and consistent reports of ill-treatment of prisoners of conscience,
including torture, and about the moving of prisoners of conscience to isolated
prisons far from their families where they cannot receive food and medicine
;

10.
Expresses its deep concern about the resumption of armed conflict in some areas
and calls upon the Burma military Junta to protect the civilian population in
all parts of the country and for all concerned to respect existing ceasefire
agreements;

11.
Strongly calls upon the Burma military Junta to end the practice of systematic
forced displacement of large numbers of persons within their country and other
causes of refugee flows into neighbouring countries
;

12.
Expresses its concern about the continuing discrimination, human rights
violations, violence, displacement and economic deprivation affecting numerous
ethnic minorities, including, but not limited to, the Rohingya ethnic minority
in Northern Rakhine State, and calls upon the Government of Myanmar to take
immediate action to bring about an improvement in their respective situations;

13.
Strongly calls upon the Burma military Junta to put an immediate end to the
continuing recruitment and use of child soldiers
, to intensify measures to
ensure the protection of children from armed conflict and to pursue its
collaboration with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for
Children and Armed Conflict, including by granting access to areas where
children are recruited, for the purpose of implementing an action plan to halt
this practice;

14.
Urges the European Commission, in light of the ongoing conflict on the Thailand-Burma
border, to reconsider its decision to further cut support from the EC
Humanitarian Office (ECHO) for refugee assistance on the Thailand-Burma border
in 2010;

15.
Urges the Council and Commission to use their influence with the Royal Thai
government and UNHCR to act on behalf of these refugees who are fleeing from
the Burma military Junta;

16.
Calls on the Royal Thai government to work with the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Thai Burma Border
Consortium (TBBC) and the international community to find an alternative
solution that ensures the safety of the 3000 Karen refugees
;

17.
Urge the Government of Bangladesh to immediately cease arrests, push-backs and
forced displacement of the unregistered Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar and
Bandarban Districts; to recognise that the unregistered Rohingyas are stateless
asylum seekers who fled persecution in Myanmar and are in need of international
protection; and to provide them with adequate protection, access to livelihood
and other basic services;

18.
Notes the continued cooperation of the Government of Myanmar with the
international community, including the United Nations, in delivering
humanitarian assistance to the people affected by Cyclone Nargis, and in the
light of ongoing humanitarian need encourages the Government of Myanmar to
ensure that cooperation is maintained;

19.
Urges the Governments of China, India and Russia to use their considerable
economic and political leverage with the Burmese authorities in order to bring
about substantial improvements in the country and to cease the supply of
weaponry and other strategic resources
;

20.
Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the to the HR/VP Mrs.
Ashton, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the EU Special
Envoy for Burma, the Burmese State Peace and Development Council, the
governments of the ASEAN and ASEM member states, the ASEM secretariat, the
ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD, the UN
Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human
Rights Special Rapporteur for Burma.

Foto: Manifestació a Malàsia, davant l’embaixada Birmana, en favor dels drets humans a Birmània. Font: EFE

Filipines, també

Una de les meves responsabilitats al Parlament Europeu és el seguiment de les vulneracions de drets humans que tenen lloc al món, i fer-ne les denúncies, en forma de Resolució, pertinents. El sistema és el següent: primer els grups han d’acordar els tres temes d’Urgències a debtre (normalment els dijous de ple d’Estrasburg per la trada), i llavors cada grup fa una proposta de resolució que a continuació toca negociar amb els altres. De vegades s’arriva a un acord de compromís, i de vegades no. En un cas i altre cal votar, ja sigui la proposta conjunta, o les de cada grup.

Per altra banda, hi ha casos que segueixo de forma més específica. En tant que membre de la Delegació amb els països ASEAN, per exemple, un d’aquests casos és Filipines. La seva situació fa temps que reclama que no ens n’oblidem, les constants persecucions, i fins i tot assassinats, a determinats grups i defensors de drets humans, ens obliga a ser vigilants. Els darrers deu anys han desaparegut, almenys, 1000 persones implicades políticament en organitzacions socials o partits d’esquerres. Així doncs, s’imposava una resolució de denúncia, que adjunto, i que tocarà debatre i votar avui dijous. (segueix…)

19/01/2010

B7?0050/2010

 

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure on the Philippines

 

by Barbara Lochbihler, Christian Engström, Emilie Turunen, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Gerald Häfner, Heidi Hautala on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

 

B7?0050/2010

 

European Parliament resolution on the Philippines

 

The European Parliament,

 

           having regard to the Declaration by the EU Presidency of 25th November 2009 on the killings in the Maguindanao, Philippines and to the statement of Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, of 2nd December 2009,

           having regard to the UN Covenant on Civil and Political rights and the Additional Protocol thereto to which the Philippines are signatory,

           having regard to the European Commission’s Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013 for the Philippines,

           having regard to the Financing Agreement for the EU-Philippines Justice Support Programme intended to speed up judicial proceedings against the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, signed in October 2009,

           having regard to the upcoming Presidential, legislative and local elections that will be held in the Philippines on Monday, May 10, 2010

           having regard to its previous resolutions on the Philippines,

           having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

 

A. Whereas political killings and disappearances, especially of activists and human rights defenders from left-leaning organisations, continue to be widespread in the Philippines and whereas human rights organisations speak of more than 1000 politically motivated murders and disappearances in the past decade,

 

B. whereas the virtual impunity of the perpetrators and the government’s inability to effectively tackle the politically motivated violence in the country makes it very difficult to bring those responsible to justice, despite the government’s commitments during its Universal Periodic Review in 2008,

 

C. Whereas hundreds of thousands of people remain internally displaced by the conflict opposing the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, due to military clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the NPA, which remains active throughout the country, and by military operations against criminal groups such as the ASG in the island Provinces of Sulu and Basilan in Western Mindanao,

 

D. Whereas on 23 November 100 armed men of a local militia led by the Amapatuan family, including officials of the local police force, tortured and brutally murdered 57 members of a convoy of female relatives of Esmail Mangudadatu, accompanied by about 30 journalists as well as lawyers, who were on their way to file Mangudadatu’s candidacy for governorship of Magindanao province in Mindanao,

 

E. Whereas this massacre, representing the biggest death toll of journalists ever in one incident anywhere in the world, revealed in a shocking way to what extent local warlords, the corruption of the security forces and apparent impunity for the most ruthless crimes have taken hold of the Philippines,

 

F. Whereas the initial inquiry into the incident showed all the marks of the dysfunctional legal system, with late arrival of security forces at the sight, delayed investigations, inadequate crime scene analysis, and unwillingness to interview suspected military and police personnel, as well as intimidation of witnesses and the prosecution which resulted in the resignation of the first assigned judge on 16 December,  

 

G. Whereas on 24 November the government declared a state of emergency in the two provinces concerned, thus putting the military in charge of law and order, invited international forensic experts to support the inquiry  and on 4 December went even as far as to declare martial law in Maguindanao for one week, the first such decision since 1972,

 

H. Whereas this move let to the arrest of the leading members of the Ampatuan family, the discovery a staggering arsenal of weapons and thousands of hidden voter identification cards hinting towards massive vote rigging in favour of  President Arroyo’s political party Lakas-Kampi-CMD,

 

I. whereas the elections in the Philippines have in the past been marred by frequent extrajudicial executions of political opponents committed by private armies and militias employed by politically influential families and whereas there is every indication that an increase in killings of political activists will take place in the run-up to the May 2010 elections,

J. whereas the brutal killings in Maguindanao constitute a major setback for peace and democracy in the Philippines and puts in jeopardy the peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which resumed on 8 December in Kuala Lumpur, facilitated by the Malaysian government,

 


1. Strongly condemns the brutal killing on 23 November of 57 civilians including some 30 journalists and members of a local politician’s family preparing to participate in the electoral process in the southern province of Maguindanao;

 

2. Welcomes the eventual response of the Philippine government to the massacre and stresses that the police investigation must be comprehensive and independent and that it must be followed by effective prosecutions of all those responsible for the murders;

 

3. Calls on the responsible authorities in the Philippines to do their utmost to identify the perpetrators including members of the security forces and bring them to justice without delay; further requests that the government ensures an urgent protection of witnesses;

 

4. Calls on the government to take decisive steps in order to end extrajudicial killings and disappearances, to release all disappeared who are still in captivity and to shed light on all other unresolved cases; urges the government to ratify the UN Convention on Forced Disappearances;

 

5. Requests the government’s decisive action in order to immediately stop all private and local funding of police and military auxiliaries and to disband paramilitary forces and local militias; to this aim calls on President Arroyo to revoke Executive Order 546;

6. Welcomes in this respect the gun ban recently issued by the Commission on Elections in preparation for the 10 May polls,

7. Is deeply concerned that the administration’s personal links with the Ampatuan family could hinder rather than help in an impartial investigation into the killings and requests that the Amaptuan family be questioned by the National Bureau of Investigation;

8. Expresses its concern that the declaration of the state of emergency by the President combined with giving greater powers to the armed forces that in the past were implicated in numerous extrajudicial killings will not prevent or mitigate election violence in the Mindanao province;

9. Calls on the government to increase efforts to eliminate instances of political violence in order to assure the future of the democracy in the Philippines; calls in particular on the authorities to establish a high-level task force with broad political support in order to urgently put into place measures to prevent election-related violence in the months ahead of the May elections and to take steps designed to protect the media and the freedom of expression in general;

10. Welcomes the European Commission’s support programme EP JUST to strengthen the Philippine criminal justice system including awareness raising for basic Human Rights principles among the security services, and support for the Commission on Human Rights and civil society;

11.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the President and Government of the Philippines, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the governments of the ASEAN Member States.

Foto:  Armes confiscades a més de 3000 grups armats existents a Filipines. Font: BBC

Deplorable el judici contra Aung San Suu Kyi

PRESS RELEASE
– Brussels, 11 August 2009

Burma
Greens deplore judgement against Aung San Suu Kyi

Commenting on the judgement passed against Burmese opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi, extending her house arrest sentence by a further 18 months, Greens/EFA
Co-Presidents Rebecca Harms and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, and Vice-Chair Raül Romeva
commented:

“Greens deplore the kangaroo court judgment against Burmese pro-democracy
leader Aung San Suu Kyi. We demand that the Burmese authorities drop the
ridiculous charges against her and order her immediate release.

The Burmese regime must release its grip on power and guarantee free and
democratic elections next year, allowing Aung San Suu Kyi to participate. Her
commitment to democracy has long been recognised across the world, including by
the European Parliament, which awarded her the Sakharov Prize in 1990. Burmese
people must at long last have the right to choose their government.”

Foto: Aung San Suu Kyi.

Les contradiccions xineses, de nou amb Xulio Ríos

La Xina queda, geogràficament, lluny, però allò que hi passa és cada cop més present en la nostra vida quotidiana. El seu pes en la nostra dinàmica política, econòmica i mediàtica és constant. Més enllà de les fòbies i les fílies pròpies de cadascú, el cert és que el despertar xinès comporta sovint extranyes aliances entre ultracapitalistes i ultracomunistes difícils de comprendre per aquells i aquelles que fem de la lluita pels drets humans i la promoció de la igualtat d’oportunitats la nostra ideologia. Els episodis de revolta / repressió del Tibet i de Xinjian suposen els dos exemples més recents i visibles de com el creixement econòmic topa amb un important dèficit político-territorial. Malauradament, però, no són els únics. És evident que el model de transformació econòmic xinès no va acompanyat, necessàriament, d’una transforamció social i territorial que faci pensar que la combinació capitalisme + partit comunista sigui necessàriament positiva per ella mateixa, tal i com expressa de manera clara i entenedora, novament, el sinòleg Xulio Ríos, a qui segueixo sovint i de qui acostumo a recomanar les anàlisi i reflexions com que la que fa avui, per exemple, a El País (Los otros chinos). (segueix…)

TRIBUNA: Xulio Ríos
Los otros chinos (a El País 13/07/09)

Los gravísimos sucesos ocurridos en Xinjiang han puesto de nuevo el dedo en la llaga de la política de nacionalidades del Gobierno y del Partido Comunista de China (PCCh). Hasta cuatro grandes tópicos, que se vienen reiterando hasta la saciedad, podemos observar en la lectura e interpretación oficial de los hechos.
En primer lugar, la expresión de una alucinada sorpresa ante una violencia inexplicable que no obedece a planteamiento racional alguno ya que el conjunto de las nacionalidades minoritarias no sólo disfrutan de iguales derechos a los hanes sino que, además, disponen de mejoras singulares ya nos refiramos al acceso a la educación, representatividad política, o natalidad, por citar algunos ejemplos. ¿De qué se quejan?, puede uno escuchar en China con inusitada facilidad ante crisis como las vividas recientemente en Xingjiang o en Tíbet.
En segundo lugar, la religión es una constante que ejerce una función de coraza incordiante que al PCCh le cuesta franquear. Pese a los intentos de domesticación institucional, lo cierto es que tras esa llamativa parafernalia intervencionista en las cuestiones de fe, las conciencias de los individuos permanecen relativamente libres e inmunes a los intentos no ya de sucumbir al ateísmo, que no es el caso, sino de resistir ese dejarse llevar por los deseos oficiales de folclorizar las actitudes religiosas e incluso convertirlas en un simulacro adaptado a los requerimientos y gustos, a veces un tanto papanatas, todo hay que decirlo, del turismo occidental.
En tercer lugar, el factor exterior, obviamente irrenunciable, un viejo tic que hunde sus raíces no ya en el bagaje autoritario al uso sino en el imaginario ancestral chino cuando lo extranjero era sinónimo de bárbaro. Hoy día es un argumento indispensable para facilitar la cohesión nacional. Esa confabulación perversa (en este caso promovida por el Congreso Mundial Uigur) no pretendería otra cosa que sacrificar la convivencia armónica de las nacionalidades chinas en aras de impedir el objetivo de completar cabalmente la emergencia del gigante asiático, cuidándose de elegir para ello fechas cargadas de especial significación y simbolismo, como es el caso ahora de la próxima celebración del sexagésimo aniversario de la fundación de la República Popular China.
En cuarto lugar, los hanes, la nacionalidad mayoritaria (92% de la población), son las víctimas de la irracionalidad y de la ira y no los adalides de la negación. No es el Gobierno, ni el Ejército, ni la Policía quienes reprimen, sino que estos exhiben una meticulosidad preventiva tal que raya incluso en la irresponsabilidad frente al deber de protección de ciudadanos inocentes que sufren las espeluznantesconsecuencias de una deliberada y escrupulosa inhibición. La violencia irracional y desmedida surge contra una colectividad (en unas décadas los han pasado del 6% al 40% de la población en Xinjiang) que no persigue otra cosa que contribuir con su actividad al desarrollo de unas comunidades consideradas “pobres y atrasadas”.
A estas cuatro consideraciones debemos añadir una doble reacción complementaria: criminalización y propaganda.
Lejos de activar un proceso que a la par sugiera alguna forma de autocrítica constructiva y con visión de futuro, la advertencia acusatoria de que todo el peso de la ley caerá sobre los alborotadores y la multiplicación de informaciones en los medios chinos que combinan las excelencias de la transformación experimentada en las zonas de conflicto en todos los ámbitos junto a la mayor visibilización de otras tragedias -como las también graves inundaciones registradas estos días en el sur de China-, cierran el círculo y contribuyen a inmunizar cualquier hipótesis de solidaridad o comprensión mal entendida con unas demandas supuestamente planteadas fuera de tiempo y de lugar.
Pero el problema de fondo sigue radicando en el modelo político. Las autoridades hanes de cualquier localidad china pueden hacer casi cuanto les venga en gana sin grandes temores y escurrir el bulto cuando las autoridades investigan la conformidad o no de sus actuaciones con las políticas centrales. Su autonomía efectiva admite poca discusión. No obstante, las autonomías formales y reconocidas, como en Xinjiang o Tíbet, carecen del más elemental soporte de certeza. Para un partido que se organiza conforme al centralismo democrático resulta en extremo complicado creer en la descentralización y potenciarla como mecanismo modernizador y, más aún, que pueda desprenderse de esa percepción en la acción estatal cuando Estado y Partido son en China como la cara y cruz de una misma moneda.
La otra cuestión que subyace en la naturaleza de estas tensiones y que bien pudiera ganar actualidad en el inmediato futuro es si el cambio en curso en el modelo económico supondrá, como ocurrió en la Unión Soviética, la exacerbación de las tendencias centrípetas hasta el punto de hacer estallar el Imperio.
Que la dimensión del problema nacional en China sea más periférica y muy circunscrita a una serie de casos que se cuentan con los dedos de una mano (tibetanos, uigures, hui, kazakos, sobre todo), no significa que pueda ignorarse o despreciarse en la agenda política.
Las 55 nacionalidades minoritarias están presentes en el 65% del territorio chino, en torno a las zonas fronterizas y en áreas, aunque escasamente desarrolladas, en muchos casos con recursos naturales significativos. Xinjiang es hoy la mayor reserva de hidrocarburos de China.
En los últimos 30 años, Beijing ha dado múltiples muestras de ingenio y flexibilidad en el campo de la economía. Hoy día, los dirigentes chinos hablan cada vez más de una democracia adaptada a sus peculiaridades, esforzándose por superar el inmovilismo que ha caracterizado su agenda en este ámbito. En el plano político-territorial ha encontrado soluciones para digerir Hong Kong y Macao sin grandes estridencias y una generosidad crecientemente flexible aflora en relación con Taiwan. ¿Y los otros? Simplemente, no.

Font foto: uyigur.org