Tuesday, March 25, 2008

China pressed at U.N. rights body to re-open Tibet

By Laura MacInnis

GENEVA, March 25 (Reuters) - China came under pressure at the United Nations' top human rights forum on Tuesday to permit foreigners to re-enter Tibet and assess the consequences of Beijing's crackdown on recent protests and riots.

The European Union, in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, urged Chinese authorities to refrain from force against a wave of Tibetan demonstrations that began on March 10 -- the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Washington issued a firm statement against China's closure of Tibet to foreign journalists, diplomats and international observers, a move U.S. Ambassador Warren Tichenor said has made objective assessments of conditions there impossible.

"Restrictions on the access of foreign media to Tibetan areas of China run counter to China's Olympic bid commitments. We are concerned about official Chinese rhetoric and the blocking of independent reporting on the events," he said. Full Article Link

"In restoring order, the Chinese authorities have resorted to measures which violate international human rights law and standards," it said.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, told the Canadian broadcaster CBC last week that Beijing needed to account fully and credibly for what is happening in Tibet.

"China is ready to open its door to 30,000 foreign journalists in August. Why can't it open its door to one or two foreign journalists in Tibet now, when the world is equally interested in what is happening in Tibet as it will be in what will be happening in the Olympics?" she said. (editing by Sami Aboudi)

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