May 12, 2017
The International Campaign for Tibet has written to governments in Europe that are sending delegates to China’s first Belt & Road Forum (BRF) not to put trade before human rights. The letter urged them to include the deteriorating human rights situation in China, and in particular in Tibet, in their bilateral talks with their Chinese counterparts, and to include references to human rights and the rule of law in any joint statement adopted at the summit.
The Belt and Road Forum, part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative (OBOR), will be held on May 14 and 15, 2017 in Beijing. It aims to put China at the center of global economic affairs and to expand links between it and countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. However, given China’s political situation, there is fear that this will lead to strengthening the effort of countries that put trade before human rights and respect for a community’s culture and environment.
“While this initiative might benefit some countries’ economic development, the international community has an equally important responsibility in ensuring that human rights are not sidelined in the face of economic interests and trade relations with China,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet.