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Lithunian MEP 2013Dharamshala: As the Baltic States commence the six-monthly rotating presidency of the Council of the EU this week, Lithuanian MEP Leonidas Donskis stressed on the need to take reformatory major to resolve the crisis in Tibet.

In Tibet today, there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, no freedom of press and no freedom of religion. The self-immolations toll has reached as high as 120, the highest number for any country in the middle of a political siege. There is excessive use of military force against the Tibetans; religious restrictions and cultural repression so much so that Tibetans are restricted from using their own language; the on-going disappearances and detentions of Tibetans on allegations that remain unexplained.

The restrictions on access to Tibet by media and international observers has stood in the way of many international communities from fully understanding the situation, the forced removal of the Tibetan nomads from their ancestral lands; and the degradation of the delicate eco-systems of the Tibetan Plateau has caused the Tibetans grief for years now. Donskis said: "Tibet is a role model of soft power, and we celebrate the Dalai Lama as a similar historic figure to Sakharov, Vaclav Havel, and Nelson Mandela. The EU should act in a much more decisive way [to support Tibet]."

While respecting China's territorial integrity, the EU calls upon the Chinese authorities to address the deep-rooted causes of the frustration of the Tibetan people and ensure that their civil, political, economic and social and cultural rights are respected, including their right to enjoy their own culture, to practise their own religion and to use their own language.

EU, like His Holiness, has been the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, and it must combine forces and facilitate a change in the socio-economic and political situation in Tibet. EU has to engage in a dialogue with Chinese authorities and urge them to reconsider their stance on Tibet.

Members of the Lithuanian parliament also met with the Tibetan Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay during his recent visit to Vilnius. Lithuanian MEP's have raised the cause of Tibet in the Parliament in order to garner support and facilitate some action. To express their solidarity with Tibet, EU must put some pressure on the Chinese government and take a stand for Tibet.

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