The following letter was written by Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas and Former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia - Pacific) and Member of Parliament David Kilgour, authors of an independent investigation into allegations of organ harvesting of Falun gong practitioners in China.
The Honourable Mr. Jaques Rogge
The International Olympic Committee
Re: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
We hereby request that you raise the issue of human dignity and human rights in China with your colleagues in Beijing to stop the persecution of those whose fundamental rights are being denied. We have great hopes that the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will be conducted in true Olympic spirit. We base this statement on the following:
The Olympic Charter states in part:
“The goal of the Olympics is to place sports everywhere at the service of a harmonious development of man, with a view to encouraging the establishment of a peaceful society concerned with preservation of human dignity. To this effect, the Olympic Movement engages, alone or in cooperation with other organizations and within the limits of its means, in actions to promote peace” (Olympic Charter, article 3);
And “Safeguarding the dignity of the individual is a fundamental requirement of the Olympics” (IOC Code of Ethics, “A. Dignity;” part 1)
What dignities has the Chinese Government accorded the people of China with violations against the innocent still continuing after being awarded the Olympics?
In regard to these Charter provisions, the IOC media office has sent letters to those who raise concerns about human rights violations in China which state:
“We have carefully thought about what kind of role the IOC - an organisation created to bring the benefits of sport to society - can play in more diverse matters. Our belief is that we must focus our work within the scope of our remit - which is to guide and assist the Games organisers to host successful Olympic Games. Within this framework of bringing sports and Olympic values to China, we are hopeful that benefits to the wider social landscape will follow in post-Games years. “The IOC is committed to bringing the Olympic Movement to China for the first time in history because we believe that examples set by the Olympic ideals have - and will continue to have - many positive benefits for China and the world.”
The Charter would suggest a more direct and forthright approach.
Both past and present Olympic athletes, coaches and officials who have been made aware of and shown information regarding human rights transgressions in China are deeply concerned with China's un-kept promises.
Today, stringent human rights violations happening daily in China are being ignored. We, David Matas, Canadian human rights lawyer and David Kilgour, former MP and Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific in the Canadian Government have released an investigative report, which states, in part:
"Regrettably, it confirms our earlier conclusion, that the government of China and its agencies in numerous parts of the country, in particular in hospitals but also detention centers and ‘people’s courts’ have put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience since 1999. Their vital organs, including hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas were virtually, simultaneously seized involuntarily for sale at high prices, sometimes to foreigners who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries.”
As Olympians become informed of these inhumanities in China, how will the IOC and world governments respond?
Would the athletes, coaches and officials as a whole want to compete in a country that imposes such cruel persecution upon her people?
We further deplore the incarceration and gag order on China human rights lawyer Mr. Gao Zhisheng who on orders of the Chinese government is forbidden to speak to any media until after the 2008 Olympic Games.
Amnesty International, Human Rights in China and Human Rights Watch have noted increasingly deteriorating human rights conditions in China. We are confident that the IOC would not have awarded the Games to Beijing had they then known of the human rights abuses happening in China.
Please, consider the following:
1) How will the Games benefit China's citizenry if the IOC doesn’t speak out against China's human rights violations?
2) Can the IOC assure the rights and safety of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other peaceful groups repressed by China's regime if they wish to attend the Games without fear of being arrested and imprisoned?
3) Will Falun Gong practitioners travelling from abroad be allowed entry into China without reprisal?
We urge you to please take effective action by calling on the Chinese authorities to bring an end to the ongoing persecution against millions of innocent citizens in China, and we hope that the 2008 Games will embody the principles of the Olympic Charter.
The favour of a reply is appreciated.
David Matas David Kilgour
(Canadian human rights lawyer) (Former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia - Pacific)
and Member of Parliament 1979 - 2006)
Links to further information:
• Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China: http://organharvestinvestigation.net/
• Amnesty International: The Olympics countdown – failing to keep human rights promises: http://www.amnestyusa.org/regions/asia/document.do?id=ENGASA170462006
• Amnesty International: Persecution of renowned Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng: http://www.amnestyusa.org/regions/asia/document.do?id=ENGASA170462006
• China 2006 Year in Review; Human Rights Watch:
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