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From Dharamshala to New York, Tibetans mark rights day
Phayul[Tuesday, December 11, 2012 13:56]
An exiled Tibetan raises slogans during a solidarity march in Dharamshala, north India on December 10, Human Rights Day. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
An exiled Tibetan raises slogans during a solidarity march in Dharamshala, north India on December 10, Human Rights Day. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, December 11: Tibetans all over the world marked the 64th International Human Rights Day December 10 with major protest rallies demanding immediate international intervention in the Tibet crisis.

The exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala echoed with loud slogans of ‘Free Tibet,’ ‘Long live the Dalai Lama,’ and ‘Wake Up UN’ as thousands of Tibetans and supporters marched down the hills carrying Tibetan flags and posters of Tibetan self-immolators.

The protest march, jointly organised by the Tibetan Women’s Association, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet, National Democratic Party of Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet, India and the regional chapters of Tibetan Youth Congress and Tibetan Women’s Association began from Tsug-la Khang after the conclusion of the official function.

Assembling near the local Indian administrative offices in Kacheri, the gathering sang the protest anthem ‘We shall overcome.’

Addressing the crowd, Tenzin Tsundue, Tibetan writer and activist pointed out that the Chinese government is currently in a desperate situation, fast losing its iron grip over Tibet.

“Tibet will be a free and an independent country. We want to live with China but only as neighbours, we will respect them and they must respect us,” Tsundue said.

“We will give our lives, we will use all our money, intelligence, education, and skills together but we will not allow Tibet to die. This is a promise we all hold.”

Solidarity march in Dharamshala, north India on December 10, Human Rights Day. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
Solidarity march in Dharamshala, north India on December 10, Human Rights Day. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
Since 2009, as many as 95 Tibetans have set themselves on fire inside Tibet protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and demanding freedom and the return of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. The recent escalation in protests has witnessed 33 Tibetans self-immolate in the last 40 days. Mass protest rallies against the Chinese government have erupted on a regular basis, including street demonstrations by school students.
Tenzin Jigdal, Program Director, SFT, India said that the clear message from Tibet is of freedom and human rights.

“The international community cannot leave then to cry out in the darkness,” said Jigdal. “This Human Right’s Day we urge our governments to stand together, to work in partnership to build a multilateral response to this crisis in Tibet, that will increase pressure on China to address the Tibetan people’s desire for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama.”

Gelek Jamyang, President of the National Democratic Party of India said that the solution for crisis in Tibet solely lies with the Chinese government.

"World Governments cannot simply hope that the self-immolations in Tibet will stop. Until China's leader begin to genuinely address the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people we cannot see this crisis abating,” Jamyang said. “China's hardline approach is not deterring Tibetans from protesting-quite the reverse- there is a dramatic rise in Tibetan resistance against Chinese rule with displays of unwavering determination and commitment to nonviolence."

New York, USA

On December 10, New York City witnessed one of the biggest Tibet protest march ever. Tibetans and supporters from all over United States and Canada gathered at two venues in the city to express their solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet and to call on the Chinese Government and the United Nations to resolve the Tibetan issue. The events also marked the completion of the global Flame of Truth relay.

The protest march began from New York City’s famed 42nd street and gathered in front of the Chinese Consulate. The event began with a minute’s silence in honor of Tibetan self-immolators followed by speeches from the two North American members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Tashi Namgyal and Norbu Tsering.

The two MPs, accompanied by Kunga Tsering, President of Tibetan Association of NY & NJ, Dadon, President of regional Tibetan Women's Association of NY & NJ, Tseten Lhagyal, President of regional Tibetan Youth Congress of NY & NJ and Geshe Tenpa of Chushi Gangdruk went into the United Nations office to meet Maarit Kohonen Sheriff, Deputy Head of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Right and Ann Syuata, Human Rights Officer and delivered copies of the Flame of Truth signed petitions numbering over 350,000.

The two MPs gave a detailed account of the purpose of the global torch relay and the main demands of the petition calling on the UN to discuss the issue of Tibet based on its earlier resolutions, to send an independent international fact-finding delegation to Tibet and to take special responsibility to ensure that the basic aspirations of the Tibetans inside Tibet are fulfilled.

Tibetan Parliamentarians, Norbu Tsering (1st L) and Tashi Namgyal (1st R) submitting petition on Tibet to Maarit Kohonen Sheriff, the UN’s Deputy Head of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and Ann Syuata, Human Rights Officer, at the UN headquarters in New York on December 10, 2012
Tibetan Parliamentarians, Norbu Tsering (1st L) and Tashi Namgyal (1st R) submitting petition on Tibet to Maarit Kohonen Sheriff, the UN’s Deputy Head of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and Ann Syuata, Human Rights Officer, at the UN headquarters in New York on December 10, 2012
They also appreciated the recent statement from the High Commissioner Navi Pillay and further urged that more needed to be done in view of the deteriorating situation inside Tibet.

Addressing the gathering in front of the UN building, Representative for the Americas, Lobsang Nyandak, read the Kashag’s statement followed by speeches from Chinese democracy activist Yang Jianli, writer Chen Pokong and former political prisoner Ngawang Sangdrol.

A message from Senator Joe Lieberman was read at the gathering followed by a speech from New York City Council member and Connecticut State Senator Tony Boucher who expressed his solidarity with the Tibetan people.

Tibetans from New York and New Jersey, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ithaca, Vermont, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Washington State, California as well as from Quebec and Ontario in Canada took part in the protest rally.

In a press release, Tenzin Dorjee, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet said the situation in Tibet is “so dire that people are driven to light their bodies on fire in protest.”

“The rising death toll in Tibet demands a new approach from world governments. This Human Rights Day, we urge Nobel peace laureates the European Union and President Obama to join together to build a multilateral response to the unfolding crisis,” Dorjee said.

New Delhi, India

Thousands of Tibetans gather at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to take part in the solidarity march on Human Rights Day
Thousands of Tibetans gather at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to take part in the solidarity march on Human Rights Day
Tibetans and supporters in the Indian capital New Delhi marked December 10 International Human Rights Day as Global Solidarity Day for Tibet, which also saw the conclusion of the Tibetan Parliament led global Flame of Truth relay and.

Over 2000 Tibetans marched from the Ramlila Ground to Jantar Mantar carrying pictures of the 95 Tibetan self-immolators.

Five Tibetan members of Parliament representing the Committee on Flame of Truth relay campaign visited UN information Centre in New Delhi and presented the "Flame of Truth" torch and the Tibet petition signed by 357,000 people from over 90 countries. The Tibetan delegation also briefed the UN officials on the current grave situation inside Tibet and appealed for UN intervention.

R. K. Sharma, representing the Director of UN Information Centre gave assurance that they will forward the petitions to the concerned UN offices in New York & Geneva.

The programme at Jantar Mantar began with the rendition of the Tibetan national anthem and a minute’s silence in respect of Tibetan martyrs. Later, Tempa Tsering, Representative of the Bureau of His Holiness Dalai Lama and Tibetan MP Choekyong Wangchuk read the Kashag’s and the Tibetan Parliament's statements respectively.

Other speakers included Retired Lieutenant General N. S. Malik, Balbir Singh, Indian MP, Tibetan MP Karma Yeshi, and J. D. Nadda, MP and National General Secretary of Bhartiya Janta Party.

Stockholm, Sweden

On December 10, International Human Rights Day, a group of Tibetans and Tibet supporters protested in front of the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, demanding China stop its continued oppressive policies in Tibet, which have led to the current crisis in the region.

Representatives from other groups resisting China’s occupation, including Uighur, Mongols, East Turkistan and human rights NGO such as Supporting Human Rights in China and Swedish Tibet Committee participated and showed solidarity.

Expressing frustration and grief over the self-immolation protests in Tibet, Rinzin Tsomo, President of the Tibetan Community Sweden called on the Swedish government to take a tougher stance on Tibet.

“Certainly the Swedish government on several occasions has raised the issue of human rights in Tibet with China, but the current difficult situation in Tibet with continued self-immolation and mass protests, however reveal that Fredrik Reinfeldt and Carl Bildt's soft China diplomacy has not quite produced the desired results,” Rinzin said. “Therefore the critical situation inside Tibet requires Reinfeldt and the Swedish government to take a tougher and more serious position in their meetings with EU and China."

Taipei, Taiwan

As part of the Global Solidarity Day for Tibet, Tibetans and Taiwanese supporters on Saturday began a 49-hour hunger strike in front of Taipei’s Liberty Square appealing for global support to end the deepening crisis in Tibet.

About 80 Tibetans and supporters participated in the rally, which culminated with a special prayer service and candle light vigil on December 10.

Dawa Tsering, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Taiwan in his address blamed the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet for pushing Tibetans to set themselves on fire.

He said the blame and solution to the escalating crisis in Tibet lies entirely with the Chinese government while appealing to the international community to encourage the Chinese government to find a lasting solution to the problem of Tibet through dialogue with the Tibetan leadership.

Kathmandu, Nepal

(Photo/EFE/EPA/Narendra Shrestha)
(Photo/EFE/EPA/Narendra Shrestha)
Nepalese police took away banners from exiled Tibetan demonstrators in Kathamndu and arrested eight people for taking part in a protest rally to mark the International Human Rights Day.

Police took away banners from dozens of exiled Tibetans who were participating in a rally held together with various human rights groups in Nepal. According to a Tibetan youth activists in Kathmandu, five women and three men were arrested.

Shillong, India

37 Tibetans from the northeastern Indian town of Shillong concluded their peace march to Guwahati, after walking four days and covering over 100kms.

The peace march, which began on December 7, was organised by the regional Tibetan youth and women’s association to express solidarity with the self-immolators in Tibet and also to spread awareness about the critical situation inside Tibet to the local Indian population.

The marchers also urged the Chinese government to give unrestricted access to international press and media in Tibet and to begin concrete and meaningful dialogue with the exile Tibetan leadership.
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