The speech David Cameron could have given at the United Nations

On reading David Cameron’s address to the UN General Assmbly about Syria and the Middle East (on 26 September) it occurred to us he could so easily have been talking about Tibet.  Wouldn’t it have been great had he given this version…

Mr President, Deputy Secretary General, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.

TIBET [has] endured decades in which the institutions of civil society were deliberately destroyed. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM banned. The free media abolished. The rule of law twisted for the benefit of the few. We cannot expect the damage of decades to be put right in a matter of months.  But the drive for opportunity, justice and the rule of law and the hunger for a job and a voice are not responsible for the problems in the region. Quite the opposite.

The building blocks of democracy, fair economies and open societies are part of the solution, not part of the problem. And we in the United Nations must step up our efforts to support the people of TIBET.

The fact is that for decades, too many were prepared to tolerate THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT on the basis that they would both keep their people safe at home and promote stability in the TIBETAN region. In fact, neither was true. Not only were these dictators repressing their people, ruling by control not by consent, [they were also] plundering the national wealth and denying people their basic rights and freedoms.

Brutal dictatorship made the region more dangerous not less. More dangerous because these regimes dealt with frustration at home by whipping up anger against their neighbours, [Japan, Taiwan] and the West. And more dangerous too, because TIBETANS denied a job and a voice were given no alternative but a dead end choice between dictatorship or PROTEST.

What was heartening about the PROTESTS IN TIBET was that the TIBETAN people found their voice and rejected this false choice. They withheld their consent from a government that had lost all legitimacy. And they chose instead the road to a more open and fair society.

CHINA does present profound challenges… You can not blame the people for the behaviour of a brutal dictator. The responsibility lies with the brutal dictator himself. THE CHINESE GOVERMENT is today inflaming tensions IN TIBET.

The only way out of TIBET’s nightmare is to move forward towards political transition and not to give up the cause of freedom.The future for TIBET is a future without THE CHINESE GOVERMENT. It has to be based on mutual consent.

But if anyone was in any doubt about the horrors that THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT has inflicted on THE TIBETAN people, just look at the evidence published by VARIOUS TIBETAN NGOS IN RECENT YEARS.

The blood of these TIBETANS is a terrible stain on the reputation of this United Nations. And in particular, a stain on those who have failed to stand up to these atrocities and in some cases aided and abetted THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT’s regime of terror. If the United Nations Charter is to have any value in the 21st Century we must now join together to support a rapid political transition. And at the same time no-one of conscience can turn a deaf ear to the voices of suffering.

We must help them unwind this legacy [where] TIBET’S natural resources [were] unfairly exploited BY THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT… [We] have a responsibility to help TIBETANS get back the stolen assets that are rightfully theirs, just as we have returned billions of dollars of assets to Libya.  It is simply not good enough that the TIBETAN people continue to be denied these assets.

TIBETANS should have the chance to fulfil the same aspirations for a job and a voice… and we support their right to have a State and a home.

Mr President, there is no doubt that we are in the midst of profound change and that many uncertainties lie ahead. But the building blocks of democracy, fair economies and open societies are part of the solution not part of the problem. Indeed, nothing in the last year has changed my fundamental conviction.

[This is] a precious opportunity for TIBETANS to realise their aspirations for a job, a voice and a stake in their own future.

And we, in this United Nations, must do everything we can to support them.

Further reading:
Transcript of David Cameron’s actual speech to UN General Assembly: 26 Sept 2012
BBC report: 27 Sept 2012


About tibetsociety

Founded in 1959, within weeks of the flight of the Dalai Lama from Tibet following the uprising against China's occupation, Tibet Society became the world’s first ever Tibet support group. Today, Tibet Society continues to work for the freedom of the Tibetan people and their right to self-determination.
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