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Tibet off the Human Rights Council's agenda

Discussion of the situation in Tibet was stifled at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva on Tuesday. Following repeated Chinese protests, the President told NGOs that they could not limit their remarks under the agenda item before the Council to the situation in only one country. Amnesty International had prepared an oral statement focussing on serious shortcomings in China's commitment in the Vienna Declaration to ensure that persons belonging to the Tibetan minority can exercise fully and effectively all human rights and fundamental freedoms without any discrimination. It was forced to cut short its statement to the Council due to Chinese objections as it was being read out. Amnesty International's delegate to the Council, Patrizia Scannella, finished speaking by recalling that the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action affirm that "the promotion and protection of all human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community..." A number of other non-governmental organizations were also frustrated in their efforts to discuss the situation in Tibet. Amnesty International's statement to the Council expressed the deep concerned at human rights violations during recent events in the Autonomous Region of Tibet and neighbouring regions. The organisation had intended to call on the Council to address the situation. "Although the restrictions that China imposed on today's debate were extremely disappointing, Amnesty International welcomes that, in its remarks today, the Chinese delegation accepted that the situation in Tibet could be properly be discussed under agenda item 4 ["Human rights situations that require the Council's attention"]," said Patrizia Scannella, Amnesty International's Deputy Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.