Thursday, April 10, 2008

Standing up for Tibetans

from w
Standing up for those who are pushed about, treated inhumanely, even in a distant country, shows initiative and in some cases, courage. A group of quiet protesters in Fiji were arrested yesterday, mainly women. This is unfortunate as they were the kind of protesters who speak up on injustices in Tibet. I certainly am appalled by violent protest as seen in other countries as the Olympic torch is taken on a 'friendly' tour. Wearing black or standing silently or turning your back is a better way to protest, not yelling and fighting. It is certainly hotting up with the Olympics in Beijing starting on my 70th birthday! Fiji's Interim Government spokesman has taken the side of China in the situation. Hmmm.

from the Suva papers: Activists held
Friday, April 11, 2008

Shamima Ali talks on her mobile phone as fellow protesters sit in the Central Police Station
SEVENTEEN people protesting against China's human rights abuses in Tibet were arrested and detained in Suva yesterday. The human rights advocates were being questioned by police at the Central Police Station last night. They could face charges of unlawful assembly.

The people held included Fiji Human Rights Commissioner Shamima Ali, Claire Slatter, a former coordinator of DAWN; Noelene Nabulivou, coordinator of Women's Action for Change, Tara Chetty and four other women's rights activists from the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, Edwina Kotoisuva and colleagues from the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, Jane Keith-Reid and three other activists from the AIDS Taskforce.

The group was taken away by police after being picked up from outside the Chinese Embassy in Suva shortly after 1pm yesterday.

Ms Chetty confirmed Neemah Khan, Unaisi Valenitabua and Shirley Tagi of FWRM, Tevita Seruilumi of FWCCC, Pita Sipeli, Niraj Singh and Jope Naviti joined them in custody later in the afternoon.

Talking from the Central Police Station last night, Ms Chetty said they had no complaints and they were being treated well. She said they held a peaceful vigil outside the Chinese Embassy, on the Suva foreshore on Queen Elizabeth Drive, to show their solidarity with human rights defenders in Tibet and Tibetans who had been killed and assaulted by Chinese troops. "These unnecessary arrests have made a big incident out of what was a quiet and peaceful vigil showing solidarity with our fellow activists in Tibet," she said. "The detainees attempted to sit in separate groups in order to comply with laws governing public assembly."

Ms Chetty said the interim regime supported China and the suppression of Tibetan activists.

"This violation of the human right of free speech and peaceful assembly, protected in the Fiji Constitution and in international law, is particularly troubling at a time when Fiji is ruled by an unelected government," said Ms Chetty.

She said the FWRM urged the authorities to release the detained human rights defenders and drop all charges.

In a press statement, the Citizens Constitutional Forum executive officer Reverend Akuila Yabaki called on police to immediately release those arrested. Mr Yabaki said the group was not violating the peace of the country and CCF was concerned that the interim Government appeared to be condoning human rights abuses.

Police spokesman Josaia Weicavu confirmed the group was being investigated for unlawful assembly outside the Chinese Embassy.

The protest by the activists in Fiji follows a global trend that started with the lighting of the Olympic torch in Athens, Greece, for its journey across the world to Beijing, the Chinese capital which hosts the Summer Olympic Games from August 8-24.

Protests have dogged the Olympic torch from the moment it was lit in Athens over China's handling Tibet's call for greater autonomy despite Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, supporting the Beijing Games.


Anonymous said...

China did not bomb Tibet or erroneously claim they had Weapons of Mass destruction. China did not kidnap citizens of a third country off the streets and send them to Guantanamo, Cuba and held with out trial for 6 years.

US is the only country that has used the Atomic bomb in anger. Depleted Uranium radiation is widespread in Iraq and has contributed to still born births and children with deformed limbs etc.
In the measuring tape of atrosities, compare China's human rights in Tibet and US violations of International Law. US human rights violations win hands over China's record.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Anonymous,
Yes I hope you are standing up and protesting about your concerns also. I agree that USA has had an appalling record in destruction. Are they learning from their mistakes. I think many US citizens have learnt but not the ones who have an investment in keeping the armaments business going.

cieart said...

@ Anonymous - US human rights violations doesn't give China the right to violate it's citizen's basic human rights.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello, Cieart,
I looked at your blog and discovered that you are into doing art! Excellent. Keep up the good work.
About the topic of Tibet. Well, I have seen the Dalai Lama when he visited Geelong and he seems a gentle man and other Tibetans have visited here to make lovely sand mandalas. There are a few buddhists in our area and they have their own retreat house not far from Geelong.

Anonymous said...

To Cieart

Proportionality should be your guide. Tibet citizens are not being threatened by daily suicide bombs, execution style murders of even facing aircraft bombs called in by
on the ground personnel.
Depleted Uranium is being used by US, Aust, UK and their radiation has a million year half life.

Tibet was invaded by 1 nation-China.

Iraq was invaded by a coalition of willing, who reasons have been revealed as lies.

This is 6th year of Iraq invasion and the timing of the Tibet protest is just a distraction from greater human rights.

We the People.