Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (15 July) on the death of the civil rights activist Tenzin Delek Rinpoche:
"I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of the Tibetan monk and civil rights activist Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. He enjoyed considerable support around the globe. Since his imprisonment and conviction in 2002, numerous politicians as well as many private individuals in different parts of the world have appealed for his release.
Over the years, the German Government and the EU called repeatedly for him to be given medical treatment and released from prison on humanitarian grounds. The concern about Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s health and the appeal that he receive adequate medical care were expressed on many occasions during high-level talks with the Chinese Government. Furthermore, information was requested on his prison conditions. Unfortunately, these efforts were in vain.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s family and friends, as well as to his numerous supporters.
I urge China to ensure that all prisoners receive medical care, which should not be used as a means of putting pressure on prisoners or their families. Following the death of the activist Cao Shunli in prison in March 2014, the death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is another indication that the Chinese authorities are prepared to risk the deaths of imprisoned activists by denying adequate medical care. We are deeply concerned about this development, which violates key humanitarian principles."