Dr. Vaclav Havel to inaugurate Tibet Support Group Conference in Prague in the presence of the Dalai Lama
DIIR[Tuesday, October 14, 2003 10:30]
Conference to be held under the auspices of the President and Vice-President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic

Prague, 14 October 2003 – Dr. Vaclav Havel, the former president of the Czech Republic, will inaugurate the fourth International Conference of Tibet Support Groups to be held in Prague from 19-21 October 2003 in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the president, Dr. Petr Pithart, and vice-president, Mr. Jan Ruml, of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Count Lambsdorff, the chairman of the Friedrich-Naumann Stiftung, Mr. Pema Jungney, the chairman of the Tibetan Parliament in exile and Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, the Kalon Tripa (Chairman of the Cabinet) of the Central Tibetan Administration. The conference will be held under the auspices of the Senate of the Czech Parliament.

The fourth International conference of Tibet Support Groups will attract 300 activists from 46 countries including 12 Chinese human rights advocates. The conference will strengthen and empower the network of Tibet Support Groups so that they may forge more effective means of supporting the cause of Tibet. This conference of the worldwide Tibet movement, one of the unique international coalition movements of non-violence in our contemporary times, will discuss and shape a detailed action plan to vitalise the movement in order to ensure that the six million Tibetan people are given rights and freedoms that are enjoyed in the rest of the world.

In recent times, the Middle Way Approach, so consistently advocated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, of not demanding independence for Tibet but working towards self-rule for Tibet within a stable and prosperous People's Republic of China, has attracted the active support of a growing number of Chinese intellectuals and activists within and outside China. This growing Chinese
support for the reasonable aspiration of the Tibetan people as articulated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives the worldwide Tibet movement one of its greatest strengths. In four separate and simultaneous workshops the conference will discuss strategies to increase political pressure on governments around the world to urge the Chinese leadership to start substantive negotiations to solve the issue of Tibet within the framework of the Middle Way Approach. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama said in a printed message to the participants of the conference, "One development that I find particularly encouraging is the growing number of our Chinese brothers and sisters who are coming out in support of our Middle Way stand. This is a clear indication that a large number of Chinese are coming to see that the focus of the Tibetan people's non-violent struggle is not against China; it is for justice."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama further states, "As always, on behalf of the Tibetan people, I would like to express my deep appreciation of the activities of Tibet Support Groups around the world. Your support and the sacrifices you have made in defending the Tibetan cause will be a source of great encouragement for downtrodden people everywhere. I remain optimistic that a just solution to the issue of Tibet is within our reach. Nevertheless, now is not the time to relax or slacken our will; on the contrary we need to press on with renewed determination and courage."

The President and the Vice-President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic are patrons of the fourth International conference of Tibet Support Groups and the President will host a welcome reception to all the participants in the Senate building before the start of the conference. The conference is convened by the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration in collaboration with Friedrich-Naumann Stiftung of Germany and Forum 2000 Foundation of the Czech Republic. The first international conference of Tibet Support Groups was held in Dharamsala in 1990, the second was held in Bonn in 1996 and the third was held in 2000 in Berlin. The present International Conference of Tibet Support Groups will be held at Top Hotel and the inaugural and closing sessions of the conference are open to the media.

Contacts: Thubten Samphel
Sonam N. Dagpo
Department of Information & International Relations
Central Tibetan Administration
Dharamshala, INDIA
Tel: +91-1892-222510, 222457, 224662
E-mail: diir@diir.gov.tibet.net

Contact: Dr. Borek Severa
Marta Peroutkova
Tel: +420-267-311-336
E-mail: mperoutkova@mediatrust.cz