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Tibet: Human Rights

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of Tibetan monks held in prisons and detention centres by the Chinese authorities following the protests in March 2008. (218331)

There has been no official confirmation of the number of Tibetans held in detention, following the protests in March and April 2008, and unofficial estimates vary considerably. We continue to urge the Chinese authorities to ensure due process for all Tibetan detainees, including that they be allowed access to lawyers of their choice. We have also stressed the need to differentiate between those who peacefully express their views and those who commit violent crimes. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has spoken to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang on several occasions since the protests emphasising the need to respect human rights. Our officials have raised the detentions directly with the Chinese authorities both in Beijing and London.

At the end of March, EU Foreign Ministers called for all Tibetan detainees to be treated in conformity with international standards. The rights of the Tibetan detainees were also raised at the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue which took place in Slovenia on 15 May 2008.