China has once again objected to the accreditation of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) to a world conference. TCHRD has applied for accreditation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg in August-September, 2002. The application will be considered by the preparatory committee for the WSSD which is meeting in Bali, Indonesia, from May 27-June 7, 2002.
In a letter dated 14 May 2002 entitled “No accreditation of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy” addressed to the UN Secretary General, the Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN, has alleged that members of the TCHRD are mainly “separatists” who support the independence of Tibet. However in fact, TCHRD is an organisation solely concerned with the human rights situation in Tibet, and hence does not take any political stand on the issue of Tibet.
TCHRD is an independent research based human rights NGO which draws all its information from first hand interviews of recently arrived Tibetans and disseminates those information worldwide in the form of reports. This year, The Centre will produce a report on habitation and human settlement in Tibet to be released at the World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
According to Mrs. Tsewang Lhadon, TCHRD Director, ” TCHRD’s activities fall well within the purview of the World Summit for Social Development. Human rights is an imperative to sustainable development. Sustainable development can be fulfilled only in a human rights framework within which there is a meaningful participation of the people who are affected by it.”
Mr. Wang Yingfan, goes on to say in the letter that,” we value and support…participation of those NGOs which have made positive and concrete contributions in close cooperation with China..” TCHRD believes that it would be a dangerous precedent if the only NGOs allowed to participate in world conferences are those that work in “close cooperation” with their governments. This would completely make a mockery of the purpose of non-governmental organisations.
China strongly opposed TCHRD’s accreditation to the Durban Conference against Racism (WCAR) held last year on similar grounds. However after scrutinising the activities of the Centre, the members of the WCAR preparatory committee voted in favour of TCHRD’s participation. “The Centre anticipates the same objectivity from the members of the WSSD preparatory committee,” says Mrs. Tsewang Lhadon.