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Tibetans arrested for protesting against mining activity

Three Tibetans from Sog County (Ch: Suo Xian) were arrested by the local Public Security Bureau (“PSB”) for protesting against the authorities’ mining activity in the area, according to confirmed reports received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The three Tibetans, Dejor, 40, Tsering Dawa, 40, and Thartsok, 33, were arrested on 4 September 2004 in Sari Village, Yongnak Township, Sog County, Tibet Autonomous Region (“TAR”).  All of them are currently reported to be in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture Detention Centre.

In July 2004, workers from Nagchu Mining Department visited Sari Village to mine the area. However, the resident Tibetans protested against the mining and managed to halt the work. It has been reported that there were heated exchanges between the Tibetans and the officials over the mining issue. Subsequently the officials from the Mining Department reported the incident to the authorities of Sog County. In the end of August, officials from Sog County Administration accompanied by PSB officers arrived at the village to investigate the incident. Dejor, Tsering Dawa and Thartsok identified as key leaders of the protests were subsequently arrested from their home on 4 September.

In the aftermath of the arrest, a group of local Tibetans appealed to the authorities to release the three Tibetans citing their protest solely as a concern for the environment. However, the authorities dismissed the appeal on the grounds that they suspected political motivations behind the protest.

The family members of the three arrestees are reported to be anxious for they might be given lengthy imprisonment terms.

The UN Declaration on the Right to Development (UNDRD) states that governments must “formulate appropriate national development policies that aim at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals, on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting there from”. The Sog County incident clearly reveals that China as a member of the UN is in direct contravention of the UNDRD. TCHRD would like to call upon China to respect the sentiments of the Tibetan people in any development work inside Tibet.


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