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Published:October 19th, 2006 09:42 EST

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister condemns shootings of unarmed Tibetan refugees by Chinese soldiers

By Anne Laszlo Howard

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister condemns shootings of unarmed Tibetan refugees by Chinese soldiers

Responding to a question by MP Gordon Brown in relation to the shooting of unarmed Tibetans fleeing to Nepal, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mackay stated the following:

“I share the hon. member's abhorrence and dismay for this terrible incident that

happened at the border. Canada strongly condemns this act of violence against unarmed civilians as an egregious violation of human rights. We have formally raised these concerns. About the incident, we will follow up further with the Chinese government and intend to reiterate Canada 's strong condemnation of this gross human rights violation. We have called upon the Chinese to conduct a full, independent investigation and punish those responsible, as well as release the detained Tibetan children immediately to their families and abide by the relevant international obligations, including those under the UN Convention of the Rights of Children.”

On September 30th, Chinese armed forces opened fire on a group of about 70 Tibetans escaping to Nepal, killing a 17 year-old nun. A young boy of 12 or 13 was also shot, possibly to death. After firing for several minutes, the Chinese patrollers took into custody a group of 8 to 10 young children. A widely televised video filmed by a Romanian TV reporter which captured the shooting, refuted China’s claims that soldiers were firing in self-defence. (=Video+shows+Tibetans+shot+by+Chinese+soldiers&t=1&c=1)

“This was a despicable criminal act. The murder of Tibetan children by Chinese soldiers highlights the extent of China’s ruthlessness in its occupation of Tibet. We are pleased with the Canadian government’s response and hope that it will result in appropriate Chinese action” said Tenzin Lhalungpa of the Canada Tibet Committee .

Each year, thousands of Tibetans flee across the mountains towards Nepal, in pursuit of a religious and cultural education that is denied them in Tibet. Notwithstanding the risks and hardships endured by all those refugees, this event is particularly shocking.

 for further information, contact Anne Howard, writer at