The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses the participants of the Second Special International Tibet Support Groups Meeting in Dharamshala on November 17, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, November 19: The three-day Special International Tibet Support Groups Meeting called in response to the escalating crisis in Tibet concluded here Sunday with “renewed commitment to work together in pursuit of a political solution to the Tibet issue.”
The meeting on its final day adopted an action plan aimed at amplifying Tibetan resistance in response to the ongoing wave of self-immolation protests inside Tibet and to build greater political support for Tibet globally and particularly in Asia.
In a concluding statement released earlier today at a press conference, the meeting delegates expressed “deep anguish” over Tibetans feeling “compelled to self-immolate as an act of political resistance.”
“We resolutely stand in solidarity with their aspirations for freedom and for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland. Responsibility for this crisis lies with China’s leaders and their failed policies over the last sixty years. We call on China’s new leaders to urgently address the root causes of these self-immolations,” the statement reads.
The alarming escalation in the fiery protests has already witnessed 14 Tibetans self-immolate in this month alone. A total of 76 Tibetans inside Tibet have set themselves on fire since the self-immolation protests began in 2009, protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
Over 200 delegates at the meeting specifically called on Chinese Communist Party’s newly promoted General Secretary Xi Jinping and the new Politburo Standing Committee to “take immediate steps to resolve all legitimate grievances” of the Tibetan people, recognising that a peaceful resolution is in the “best interests” of both the Tibetans and Chinese people.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his address
to the delegates on Saturday had said the situation in Tibet is serious and the Chinese government and Tibetans “need to find a solution based on mutual understanding and respect.”
The delegates representing 43 countries also demanded their home governments to “initiate urgent and coordinated action, including at the United Nations and in other international and regional fora” aimed at applying pressure on China to change its Tibet policies. A coalition of Asian Tibet Support Groups has also been created to that end.
The exile Tibetan administration had earlier this month urged the UN Human Rights Council to convene a Special Session
on Tibet, while calls for the formation of a Contact Group on Tibet have also been made.
Speaking at the concluding session, Yiang Jianli, a former Chinese political prisoner and survivor of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre said that Chinese people must end their silence on Tibet.
“We should make special effort to reach out to them and to confront them with the truth, to appeal to their conscience and to let them realise that the suffering of the Tibetan people is the suffering of the Chinese people,” the pro-democracy activist said.
The Second Special International Support Groups Meeting was convened by the Core Group for Tibetan Cause-India and facilitated by the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration.