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Government Called Upon To Raise The Issue Of Tibet

Friends Of Tibet News Release

Tibet is an issue of growing concern which should be raised during this week’s Parliamentary visits of Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations and Mr Zhou Guangzhao, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, says Friends of Tibet (NZ).

Wellington Friends of Tibet has called upon the Prime Minister to use this opportunity to find out more about the current deteriorating situation in Tibet and to urge the Chinese Government to seek a peaceful resolution in consultation with the Tibetan Government in exile.

Wellington Friends of Tibet has also written to MPs asking that if they attend the Parliamentary luncheons for Mr Zhou or Mr Annan, that they use the opportunity to voice their concerns regarding the social injustices suffered by Tibet.

In 1999 the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee made a recommendation that ‘The Government urge the Chinese Government to engage in dialogue on the future of Tibet with his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and offer New Zealand to serve as a venue".

This recommendation is still waiting for Government action.

The new Government has made a commitment to put human rights before trade and Friends of Tibet is asking MPs to make sure this promise is kept regardless of their own political alliance.

"These two visits offer opportunities for the New Zealand Government to put the issues surrounding Tibetan human rights at the top of the agenda," says Rick Sahar, chairperson for Friends of Tibet (Wellington).

"We are asking MPs to make a stand and speak out on the issue of Tibet."

Members of Friends of Tibet will have a peaceful presence outside Parliament on Thursday, 24 February, from noon until about 2pm, for the duration of the luncheon held for Mr Zhou Guangzhao.

Please show your support to the Tibetan people by attending this local inititaive and/or by writing to your local MP requesting that the Select Committee recommendation to encourage dialogue be acted upon by the government.

On behalf of the local committee

Rick Sahar Chairperson, Friends of Tibet Wellington PO Box 52076, Titahi Bay Porirua, New Zealand Ph 64 4 2399971 fax 2399976

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