Lobbyists taking part in Tibet Lobby, in Westminster Hall, Houses of Parliament, London March 13 2013. (Photo/Paul Golding)
DHARAMSHALA, March 16: Tibetans and supporters in the United Kingdom took part in the fifth annual Tibet Lobby this week at the Houses of Parliament and in local constituencies around the UK.
About 300 supporters, either in face-to-face meetings or through letters, lobbied at least 150 MPs on Wednesday.
Organisers said the focus of this year's lobby
was “to call on MPs to ask David Cameron to make a public statement of concern on Tibet and to urge the UK government to work with other governments to find a solution to the Tibet crisis.”
At Westminster, about 60 Tibetans and supporters met with their MPs in Central Lobby and raised their concerns and called on them to take action for Tibet. Organisers said the response was “positive” with most MPs “committing to take the recommended actions.”
The MPs agreed it was time for another debate on Tibet in the House of Commons, given that the last debate was in December 2011.
The same day, representatives of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet laid a wreath at Westminster Abbey “to mark the Tibetan National Uprising anniversary and remember all the victims of China's 63-year occupation.”
The wreath-laying, at the Memorial to Innocent Victims of Oppression, Violence and War, was accompanied by a short multi-faith service.
Fabian Hamilton MP (Lab, Leeds North East and chair of the APPGT), gave a short address drawing particular attention to those who have died due to China's occupation of Tibet and been imprisoned for defending the freedoms and human rights of the Tibetan people.
The wreath-laying ceremony was organised by Tibet Society and APPGT.
Earlier on March 10, the 54th Tibetan National Uprising Day, approximately 600 Tibetans and Tibet supporters took to the streets in central London to call for an end to China's occupation of Tibet, for the Chinese government to respect the rights of the Tibetan people and for the UK government to stand up and take action.
Tibet Freedom March heading along Whitehall, London on March 10, 2013, the 54th Tibetan National Uprising Day. (Photo/Paul Golding)
Gathered opposite Downing Street, representatives from the organising coalition of UK-based Tibet groups delivered a letter the Prime Minister urging him to “publicly speak out on the Tibet issue and to work with other governments to urge China to end the repression in Tibet.”
Demonstrators carried placards, waved Tibet flags, and raised slogans for "Free Tibet," "Human Rights for Tibet," and "Long Live the Dalai Lama."
Upon reaching the Chinese Embassy, Member of Parliament and long-time Tibet supporter, Tim Loughton MP, addressed the rally, calling on the free world to "draw attention to the liberties that are denied to [Tibetans] by China in their own country."
"We offer an olive branch to China if they really mean what it says in their constitution about respecting the autonomy of regions within the borders of China," said Loughton.
"Start a new dialogue and if you do, if you really are serious about respecting the rights, identity, and culture of the Tibetan people inside and outside your boundaries, then the world will be behind you. We will be behind you."
Thubten Samdup, the Dalai Lama's Representative for Northern Europe and the UK, read out the March 10 statement from Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people.