Statement on Tibet from Desmond Tutu on Behalf of The Elders

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Wednesday, 2 April, 2008

The Elders' Chair Desmond Tutu urges the Chinese government to agree to dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

The people of Tibet wish to be heard. They have long sought autonomy, and chosen negotiation and mediation as their means of attaining it. They now turn to protest. The Chinese government should hear their voices, understand their grievances and find a non-violent solution.

That solution is offered by our friend and brother His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has never sought separatism, and has always chosen a peaceful path. We strongly urge the Chinese government to seize the opportunity he provides for a meaningful dialogue. Once formed, this channel should remain open, active and productive. It should address issues that are at the heart of the tension, respecting the dignity of the Tibetan people and the integrity of China.

Throughout, the international community will be reassured if the government allows members of the press and United Nations Human Rights investigators full access within Tibet. Without that access, progress is unlikely and an opportunity may be lost.

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