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Tibet issue: UN unlikely to take action
Dharam Shourie at the United Nations | March 18, 2008 08:48 IST
Despite calls by the Dalai Lama [Images] and rights activists for an independent inquiry into the Chinese crackdown on protesting monks in Tibet, the United Nations Security Council is unlikely to take any action or even discuss the issue.
The envoys of member-nations of the council, which has often condemned human rights violations in member-states, have been very clear that the issue is not likely to come up during the meetings, and some have even questioned whether it posed a threat to international peace and security, a yardstick for council action.
The Chinese diplomats said the issue did not come up in the council on Monday, maintaining it does not pose threat to international and peace and security. It is a domestic issue, they asserted.
The Russian diplomats, including its UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, said the council has nothing to do in Tibet and it is not something either the council or the United Nations could discuss or take action on.
China is a powerful veto-wielding member of the 15-member council and Washington often needs its support to get the resolutions through the body.
Even though the council did act after a crackdown by Myanmar, asserting it posed a threat to international peace as people were crossing over to neighbouring countries to escape the action, the case of Tibet looks to be different.
On his part, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that he was "increasingly concerned" about the tensions and reports of violence and loss of life in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and elsewhere and has called for restraint on the part of authorities.
"At this time I urge restraint on the part of the authorities, and call on all concerned to avoid further confrontation and violence, and I stress the importance of a peaceful resolution," he said, but did not indicate whether he plans to seek any action from council or the Secretariat.
Talking to reporters, he parried the question whether the world body has any role there, simply saying, "We continuously monitor the situation and we will get back to you."
Replying to a pointed question, he said he is "closely monitoring" the situation and had expressed his views and concerns to the Chinese ambassador during their meeting on Monday morning. However, he did not elaborate.
Asked about the UN information about casualties, he said, "As far exact number of casualties, I would have to check again."