By Tenzin Samphel
Over 110 Tibetans held a rally in front of the United Nations in Geneva on Thursday, 7 April as the annual 6-week 61st session of the UN Commission on Human Rights is at about its mid-point.
Tibetans called for an end to the gross human rights violations in Tibet and also for regular dialogues between His Holiness' representatives and the Chinese authorities towards finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the Tibetan problem.
Representatives of Tibetan NGOs attending the current session of the UNCHR briefed the fellow Tibetans on their participation in the Human Rights Commission. Among those who spoke included Mr. Kalsang Phuntsok, President Tibetan Youth Congress, (TYC), Mrs. B. Tsering, President Tibetan Women's Association, (TWA) and Mrs. Norzin Dolma from the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) in India.
The speakers shared their observations and experiences at the Commission on Human Rights. During this session, Tibetan participants were able to make seven oral statements on the human rights situation in Tibet. At the same time, they took active part in meetings held in parallel to the 61st session by various Governments, UN and UN accredited NGOs, including Amnesty International, (AI) International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Human Rights Watch to discuss various human rights issues.
Mr. Lobsang Gangshontsang, President of the Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein thanked the Tibetans gathered from across Switzerland and for the Tibetan delegates attending the UN Commission on Human Rights for sharing their thoughts.
While thanking the participants in the rally, Mr. Chhime R. Chhoekyapa, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Geneva also commended the valuable contribution the NGO delegates made in highlighting the situation of human rights in Tibet at the session of the UN's highest Human Rights body.
This rally coincided with the address of the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan to the Commission on Human Rights. He said, "We must do more to protect fundamental rights and freedoms."
The gathering of Tibetans in their traditional dress and with flags, including Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in front of the UN Building was very eye catching.