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Tibetan Women’s Association marks its 28th re-founding anniversary in exile

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Tibetan Women’s Association marks its 28th re-founding anniversary in exile

September 10, 2012, Dharamsala; In commemoration of the ‘Twenty Eighth Years in Exile’ since its establishment, the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) on its 28th re-founding anniversary in exile, pays heartfelt tribute to Tibetan martyrs for their supreme sacrifices which continues to keep the spirit of Tibet alive and hopeful even after 53 years of China’s brutal suppression.

The TWA was founded in Lhasa on March 12, 1959, when Tibetan women from all three provinces of Tibet gathered and stood united for the first time in Tibetan history and challenged the brutal clampdown by the Chinese government. The Tibetan women started a peaceful resistance against the repressive Chinese regime. Under the indomitable leadership of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the peerless efforts of the Tibetan women in exile resulted in the reestablishment of TWA on September 10, 1984 in India. TWA is not just the most powerful women’s organization in Tibetan history, but also an only Tibetan women’s NGO in exile. TWA advocates human rights for women inside Tibet and is committed to empowering women in exile. TWA remains steadfast in resolving Tibet issue through our action in exile.

Committed to resolve the injustice inside Tibet, TWA’s expansion of 56 regional chapters spread across four continents: Asia, America, Europe and Australia, totalling about 16,000 members in exile, further strengthens the advocacy objective for social justice. At TWA, we consider ourselves as the successful continuation of the absolute determination and efforts put forward by our elder generation.

Considering the critical on-going situation inside Tibet, more than 50 Tibetans have opted for supreme sacrifice by offering their lives for the nation; calling for the freedom inside Tibet, return of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and restoration of basic human right in Tibet. TWA remains gravely concerned about the status of the martyrs whose status remains unknown and involves hospitalisation and the denial of family visitation rights. TWA pays tribute to their sacrifices and deem their act as the ultimate form of non-violent protest.

Thus to draw attention to the on-going situation inside Tibet and to garner international support:

· TWA has come out with a short documentary featuring the martyrs’ acts and our appeals.

· We also have a pamphlet casing the photos of the martyrs and our appeals to the masses. This pamphlet will be also distributed all over by our regional chapters through local newspaper.

· We have also organised a panel discussion in the evening at TCV Day School Hall, 5:30 pm on the topic: ‘Middle Way Approach; its Past, Present and The Future’. Ms. Dhardon Sharling, Mr. Thupten Lungrik and Mr. Kalsang Gyaltsen, all members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile are the panellist of the discussion.

We witnessed 38 cases of self-immolations in 2012 and 51 inside Tibet since February 2009. Forty two of all those self-immolated have succumbed to their injuries and the status of the rest remain unknown. Central TWA, joined by its 56 chapters, on its 28th re-founding anniversary would like to make the following appeals and requests to the worlds’ leaders and the masses.

· To the global leaders and the community

We Tibetans, numbering among the 7 billion humans in this world, have suffered tremendous oppression under the Chinese communists for the past 53 years since the occupation of Tibet in 1959. We urge you all to speak for Tibet and save Tibet from the on-going oppression by China. We ask the governments to urge the UN High Commissioner for Human rights to visit China and Tibet.

· To the Chinese Government and the people of China

Chinese Government allegations against His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile as the perpetrator of the self-immolations are completely untrue and groundless. We, in fact, hold the Chinese Government and its hard-line policies on the Tibetan people responsible for these immolations. The same is shared by people of conscience around the world, which have been evident through various news outlets. Therefore, TWA holds the Chinese Govt. accountable for these immolations.

· To the Indian Government and the people of India

So far more than 40 countries including the Government of the United States and European countries have expressed their solidarity and passed resolutions expressing concerns on the self-immolations yet it pains us to see that till date, India, a country close to Tibet and dear to its people, has not officially voiced on this issue. India and Tibet both in culture and in religion share a very strong historical relationship which is emphasized often by His Holiness the Dalai Lama through that of the Guru and the Chela/ Teacher & the disciple relation. Moreover Tibet and India share a geographical and environmental significance for which it is vital that both countries continue this cordial relationship therefore, we urge the Govt. of India and its people to pay immediate attention to the plight of the Tibetan people.

The Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) has 56 regional chapters and over 16, 000 members outside Tibet. Today, TWA is the second largest Tibetan NGO and the only women’s NGO in exile that advocates human rights for Tibetan women in Tibet and works to empower Tibetan women in exile, in particular new refugee women from Tibet. TWA’s tag-line is ‘Advocacy for home, Action in exile.’

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