Tibetan activists carrying out a prostration campaign to the UN Information Office in New Delhi on September 12, 2012. (Photo/TYC)
DHARAMSHALA, September 13: On the 10th day of the Tibetan Youth Congress led indefinite hunger strike in New Delhi, activists yesterday led a prostration campaign to the United Nations office, appealing for their immediate intervention to end the crisis in Tibet.
The campaign brought along memorandums addressed to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
Scores of Tibetan students studying in various universities in Delhi led by Tibetan Youth Congress’ Finance Secretary, Konchok Yangphel, started prostrating while chanting prayers, heading towards the UN Information Centre.
TYC in a release said that although prostrations are usually performed as part of the Tibetan Buddhist’s religious tradition, the activists were doing full body length prostrations to appeal to the UN to act on their earlier promises of action on Tibet.
After covering over 500 meters, the activists reached the gate of the UN office where TYC President Tsewang Rigzin, speaking through a megaphone, reminded the UN of its commitment to “directly engage with the Chinese government and to send UN representatives to Tibet,” made during the TYC led New York Indefinite Hunger strike in March this year.
“Thus, trusting the UN to keep their promises the hunger strike was called off indefinitely. It has been 6 months since then and no UN delegation has visited Tibet so far and the situation inside Tibet is worsening by the day,” Rigzin said.
“TYC is forced to resume its hunger strike and we are holding UN responsible for whatever happens to the three hunger strikers. We are appealing and will continue on until concrete actions have been taken by the UN."
When the TYC delegation asked for permission to enter the UN office to personally handover the memorandums, they were refused entry citing rule changes and were told that even a Tibetan parliamentary delegation that recently came was refused entry.
However, after much persistence, the TYC delegation was invited inside the office to meet with senior UN officials, including Ritch Miller.
The UN officials assured of forwarding the memorandums to the UN offices in New York and Geneva.
The three TYC Central Executives, Dhondup Lhadar, vice-president, Penpa Tsering, organisational secretary, and Jigme Sholpa, cultural secretary began their indefinite fast on September 3 in “solidarity with the self-immolators inside Tibet and to appeal for immediate international intervention” in the unfolding crisis inside Tibet.
TYC said that all three hunger strikers are showing gradual signs of deterioration in health with Lhadar losing 9 kgs, Tsering 7kgs and Sholpa losing 6 kgs.
“Their expressions show tiredness and faces are pale but the eyes are still hopeful and passionate for the cause they live for,” one of the organisers said.
TYC also submitted memorandums to embassies of 55 countries, conveying the need for immediate international intervention and to engage their governments in resolving the crisis inside Tibet.
Since 2009, there have been 51 known cases of self-immolations inside Tibet demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.