Victory! 58 Reps sign Wolf-McGovern letter

Following grassroots mobilization, Members of Congress urge Obama to act on Tibet

We did it! 58 Members of Congress have signed onto the landmark letter for Tibet. Scroll down to see the list of all who have signed. CLICK HERE to read the Letter to Obama.

A week ago, only four Members of Congress had signed the letter introduced by Representatives Wolf and McGovern. The letter, which calls on President Obama to take a stronger international lead in resolving the spiraling crisis in Tibet, will go to the White House tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone who has sent letters, made phone calls, and visited their representative's office. Without our collective efforts, this letter could have been lost in the deluge of competing issues facing Congress. Together, we turned it into a strong bi-partisan endorsement of the Tibet issue at this critical time.

Please donate to SFT today and help us continue our grassroots lobby efforts for Tibet:

tselhaincongress.jpgThis letter shows critical US government support for Tibet and marks a milestone in our campaign to push for multilateral action to help resolve the Tibet crisis. The letter asks President Obama to:

  • lead coordinated, international action for Tibet with like-minded governments to help save Tibetan lives
  • nominate a Secretary of State who will champion the Tibet issue
  • employ the recent statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay as a tool for coordinated pressure on the Chinese government

This has been an extremely difficult year for all of us who care about Tibet. 85 Tibetans – monks, nuns, mothers, fathers, nomads, students, farmers – have given their lives for Tibetan freedom in 2012 alone; a staggering 95 since 2009. The sheer magnitude of this loss is overwhelming.

But, instead of shutting down, we have risen up together for Tibet. 2012 has been a year of nonstop action as we work to ensure the international community – and in particular world leaders – respond to the crisis inside Tibet with new approaches and stronger pressure that the Chinese government cannot ignore.

On December 10th at the European Union's Human Rights Day event, Maria Otero, US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Affairs, cited Tibet as an area where the US and Europe can have “common strategic engagement."

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“And as a good example, European governments, including Germany, UK, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Poland, have joined the call for Chinese authorities to address the worsening human rights conditions in Tibetan areas,” said Otero.

This is a great start, but so much more needs to be done. Please give an end-of-year donation to the ‘World Leaders: Unite for Tibet’ campaign and help SFT take multilateral action for Tibet to the next level:

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We can move international power brokers – President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Cameron and other G8 leaders – to adopt a multilateral approach and take concrete measures to challenge China's failed policies in Tibet.

Within days of Otero's address, strong statements on Tibet were issued by Catherine Ashton, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, and British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire.

The Chinese government has armies of lobbyists in every nation's capital but we have armies of student organizers, grassroots advocates, and nonviolent activists around the world. Most importantly, we have truth on our side.

As the year comes to a close, please donate to SFT Today. Contributions of any amount will go a long way in making 2013 a historic year for Tibet.

With warmest wishes to you and your loved ones,

Tendor and the entire SFT team

P.S. Please give a tax-deductible donation today to SFT's 'World Leaders: Unite for Tibet' campaign for multi-lateral action to help save Tibetan lives:
https://secure3.convio.net/sft/site/Donation2?df_id=2240

Respond to Tibet’s Desperate Cries for Help

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama,

We write to strongly urge you to make Tibet one of your top priorities for U.S.advocacy, especially given the desperate protests occurring in Tibet this past year.  It is critical that the U.S. take a leading role and engage actively with partner nations on measures that could bring near-term improvements in the human rights situation in Tibet.  As you consider candidates to be the next Secretary of State, we urge you to nominate someone who will champion this issue.

It has long been U.S. policy to promote dialogue without preconditions to advance a solution on Tibet and to press for respect for human rights and the preservation of Tibetan religion, language and cultural heritage.

Regrettably, the policies of the Chinese government towards the Tibetan people have only increased in their level of repression, their intrusion into all Tibetan institutions, most particularly religious and educational, and their denigration of Tibetan culture. These repressive conditions have led to the self-immolations and protests by Tibetans.  As incidents of self-immolation increased in frequency, so have reports of mass gatherings of Tibetans to mourn and express solidarity with those who have undertaken these often mortal acts of protest.  Continued crackdowns by Beijing threaten to escalate the situation.

It is in this context that we welcome the strong November 2nd statement on Tibet by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. She cited “continuing allegations of violence against Tibetans seeking to exercise their fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, association and religion,” and pointed to “reports of detentions and disappearances, of excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and curbs on the cultural rights of Tibetans.”

We believe Commissioner Pillay’s statement requires stronger efforts on the part of the United States and the international community to press China to respect human rights in Tibet.  It should serve as a clarion call for a new level of collaborative and coordinated pressure and engagement with the Chinese government on the Tibetan issue, including but not limited to allowing access by independent and impartial monitors to assess conditions on the ground, including the 12 outstanding requests for official visits by U.N. special rapporteurs; adoption by the Chinese government of policies recommended by U.N. special rapporteurs, such as suspension and review of Chinese policies and incentives that promote the settlement of mainland Chinese into Tibet; the suspension of non-voluntary resettlement of Tibetan nomadic herders; an independent inquiry into alleged excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators of 2008, and allegations of torture and ill-treatment against those arrested and detained; lifting restrictions on media access to the region; respect for Tibetans’ rights to peaceful assembly, expression and religious practice, and the release of anyone detained for exercising those rights; and renewed engagement in dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives without preconditions.

The Chinese government appears to believe that by sealing off Tibet, international interest and concern will diminish.  It will not.  We were therefore pleased to see the recent statements by Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Under Secretary Maria Otero and by Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner expressing U.S. concern over the increasing frequency of self-immolations by Tibetans and rejection of the continuing violence by Chinese authorities in Tibetan areas.  But much more must be done.

We urge you, Mr. President, to take a leading role in support of Commissioner Pillay’s statement and actively engage partner nations on measures that could bring near-term improvements in the human rights situation in Tibet and serve to de-escalate rising tensions brought about by hard-line and destructive Chinese policies and actions.  In addition, continued attention must be paid to promoting dialogue between Chinese officials and Tibetan leaders in order to achieve a negotiated solution to the problems afflicting Tibet and the Tibetan people.

We have the moral obligation to speak out for the Tibetan people and confront China about these abuses, to convey the aspirations for change that are being expressed so desperately by the Tibetan people directly to those who have the responsibility to heed Tibetans’ demands for change, respect and basic dignity.  We ask that you make this a top priority and lead the way.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

Below are all the Reps who have signed the Wolf-McGovern letter on Tibet:

James P. McGovern (MA)
Frank R. Wolf (VA)
Michael E. Capuano (MA)
Jim McDermott (WA)
Edolphus Towns (NY)
Henry A. Waxman (CA)
Jared Polis (CO)
Barbara Lee (CA)
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI)
John F. Tierney (MA)
John W. Olver (MA)
Keith Ellison (MN)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA)
Peter A. DeFazio (OR)
John Lewis (GA)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)
Betty McCollum (MN)
Timothy J. Walz (MN)
John Garamendi (CA)
Janice D. Schakowsky (IL)
Sam Farr (CA)
Ed Markey (MA)
William Keating (MA)
Mike Turner (R-OH)
Joseph Pitts (R-PA)
Gerry Connolly (VA)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
Maxine Waters (CA)
Collin Peterson (MN)
Stephen Lynch (MA)
Mike Michaud (ME)
Steve Chabot (OH)
André Carson (IN)
Lois Capps (CA)
Jackie Speier (CA)
Alcee Hastings (FL)
Chris Smith (NJ)
Earl Blumenauer (OR)
Rush Holt (NJ)
Richard Neal (MA)
Mike McIntyre (NC)
Chris Van Hollen (MD)
Judy Chu (CA)
Mike Honda (CA)
Yvette Clarke (NY)
Albio Sires (NJ)
Joe Courtney (CT)
Peter Welch (VT)
Donna Edwards (MD)
Rosa DeLauro (CT)
Al Green (TX)
Leonard Lance (NJ)
Charles Rangel (NY)
Jim Moran (VA)
David Cicilline (RI)
Jim Himes (CT)
Adam Smith (WA)
Niki Tsongas (MA)