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8-November-2011-USLondon, UK: - Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have jointly forwarded an open letter to the President of the People's Republic of China, Mr Hu Jintao, on the spate of self-immolation protests that have taken place in eastern Tibet this year. (Read The Open Letter)

The Chinese government must address the underlying causes of protests that have led 11 Tibetans to set themselves on fire since March, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.

The two human rights organisations have called on the Chinese government to carry out a comprehensive review of the human rights situation across Tibet and to end legal and political restrictions that breach human rights in the region.

"The Chinese government must put an end to repressive policies that infringe on the fundamental freedoms of ethnic Tibetans," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general. "The Chinese authorities have not heeded the demands of Tibetans, but have instead resorted to heavy-handed tactics that can only deepen and further fuel resentments. They must respect the right of Tibetans to practice their religion and to enjoy their culture."

In total, eleven Tibetans, including monks, former monks and two nuns, have self -immolated this year out of desperation, calling for "Freedom" and "the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet". Six of them are believed to have passed away, the most recent being Palden Choetso, a 35 year old nun from Tawu nunnery, who self-immolated on 3 November.

The letter urged the Chinese government to reveal the whereabouts of everyone who has been been arrested and detained, including those who set themselves on fire and taken away by the Police and stop the forced political indoctrination of monks and nuns as part of the Chinese government's patriotic education policy.

The human rights organisations have also called on the Chinese government to reduce the heavy security presence in Tibetan areas and respect the Tibetan people's right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

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