LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has played a key role on Tibet Advocacy Day, 18 March, tabling a petition with more than 2500 signatures in the Australian Parliament.
The move follows news that as of 25th February, 107 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest against China’s occupation of Tibet.
“I rise today to add my voice in support of those who seek a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Tibet,” Mr Entsch said today. “It is very distressing to hear that the human rights situation is driving a rising number of Tibetans to self-immolate.
“Unfortunately, China has failed to show willingness to constructively address Tibetan grievances, or to hold themselves accountable for Tibetan rejection of their policies.”
Mr Entsch said that China, in response to what it sees as ‘threats’, has increased its military and police presence and closed Tibet to foreign tourists, media and diplomats.
An impressive pile of signatures advocating for peace in Tibet.
“It must be emphasised that addressing the situation in Tibet is not an attack on the Chinese people, nor is a matter of partisan politics,” Mr Entsch added.
“A peaceful resolution of the Tibet issue would not only ensure the long-term stability of our biggest trading partner, it would be a significant step towards greater peace in our region.”
Speaking in the Federation Chamber, Mr Entsch presented a petition from the Australia Tibet Council (ATC) with 2518 signatures that called on the Australian Government to:
· Make a strong public statement of concern over the situation facing Tibetan people;
· Renew efforts to send the Ambassador in Beijing, and a parliamentary delegation, to areas affected by the protests, and urge China to allow foreign journalists unfettered access to all Tibetan areas; and
· Join other concerned countries in an intergovernmental forum dedicated to building stronger international pressure on China to address the crisis in Tibet.
Mr Entsch congratulated the ATC for their work on the Tibet Advocacy Project, which is designed to connect Australia’s Tibetans with their elected representatives. Advocates from the ATC met today with around 40 Members and Senators, from all parties, including the Leichhardt MP.
Mr Entsch himself is a member of the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, and was honoured to meet the Dalai Lama in person in Canada last year.
For more information on the Australia Tibet Council and their advocacy project, click here.