Joint statement on Tibet

Mr. President,

With respect to the report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, this Joint NGO Statement relates to the 30 September shooting on more than 70 Tibetans on the Nangpa Pass in the Himalayas while they were trying to cross the Pass to reach Nepal. 

At least two Tibetans were killed1 during the shooting spree by Chinese soldiers while more than 30 from the group, including 14 children 2 were arrested by the Chinese authorities.  Fortunately, 41 Tibetans from this group managed to escape the shooting and have now reportedly settled in India. 3

Although such incidents have occurred in the past, this time the killing of Tibetans and attempts to kill other Tibetans from the group was witnessed by many foreign mountain climbers at the Pass, including a Romanian 4 who filmed the shooting.  The video footage was later widely shown on many TV stations around the world.  During the shooting, a mountaineer in the cameraman’s group can be heard saying: "They are shooting them like dogs."5

Mr. President and Madame High Commissioner, the Chinese authorities confirmed that the shootings took place but added that its soldiers were "forced to defend themselves".6    Despite repeated requests, China has refused to release information about the fate and whereabouts of those Tibetans who were arrested.

The European Parliament has strongly condemned the killings of the Tibetans while many Western governments have raised the case during their bilateral talks with the People’s Republic of China.  Human Rights Watch has called that two Special Procedures of the Council be allowed to conduct an independent investigation the shooting.

In view of the many appeals to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to intervene on the killings of Tibetans in the Himalayas, we seek clarification on the steps taken by the High Commissioner regarding this matter.

Movement Against Racism and Friendship Among Peoples
Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network
Society for Threatened Peoples (to be confirmed)
International Fellowship of Reconciliation (tbc)
Transnational Radical Party (tbc)
Nonviolence International (tbc)
Forum Asia (tbc)
Pax Romana (tbc)
Interfaith International (tbc)
Asian Human Rights Commission (tbc)
International Federation for the Protection of Ethnic, Religious, Linguistic and other Minorities (tbc)



A Tibetan Nun, Kalsang Namtso aged 17, was one of the victims. Filipino climbing doctor Ted Esguerra said he saw at least three people - two women and a man - shot dead.

Names of some of the children are: Tenwang, age 7, Lhakpa Tsering, age 8, Dhondup Lhamo, age 9, Dechen Dolma, age 10, Wangchen, age 11, Tsedon, age 12, Sonam Wangdue, age 12, Ming Shomo, age 13, Lodoe Nyima, age 15, Jamyang Tsetan, age 16, Karma Tsetan, age 16 and Lodoe Namkha, age 16.  Steve Lawes, a British police officer who witnessed the shooting told the International Campaign for Tibet how the children were arrested: "The children were in single file, about six feet away from me. They didn't see us - they weren't looking around the way kids normally would, they were too frightened. By that time, advance base camp was crawling with soldiers. We were doing our best not to do anything that might spark off more violence."

One of the survivors told Radio Free Asia: “I think the Chinese fired for about 15 minutes. I felt bullets whizzing past my ears. In fact I felt about five bullets pass by me and luckily they missed me. I was so frightened that I crawled in the snow using my hands and feet. The snow was about knee-deep,” he said.

Xinhua News Agency, 12 October and People’s Daily, 13 October.