Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tibet: Ban Ki-moon urges restraint

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that he is “increasingly concerned” about recent developments in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, including reports of violence and loss of life, and urged restraint by the authorities there.

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban called “on all concerned to avoid further confrontation and violence,” while stressing the importance of a peaceful resolution.

Asked if he sees a role for the UN to play, he responded: “We will continuously monitor the situation.”

The Secretary-General said he discussed the matter with the Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya at their meeting this morning. “I expressed by concern and my views to the Chinese Government.”

Mr. Ban’s comments come just days after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour issued a statement calling on the Chinese authorities to allow protestors to exercise their right to freedom of expression and assembly, after some 60 monks were reportedly arrested in Lhasa during a peaceful demonstration on 10 March.

The following day, Chinese police fired tear gas at some 600 monks who were demanding the release of the arrested monks. There have been reports of further violence in the area since then.

Source: UN News Centre