News and Views on Tibet

TWA announces scholarship in honour of female self-immolators

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DHARAMSHALA, March 12: Coinciding with the 54th Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day, the Tibetan Women’s Association today announced a new scholarship programme for girl students in honour of female Tibetan self-immolators.

The largest women’s group in exile said the scholarships will be awarded to girl students willing to study either gynecology and pediatrics.

Hundreds of Tibetan women – nuns, school girls, and laywomen – along with supporters took part in the Women’s Uprising Day function held at the Martyrs’ Pillar near the Tsug-la Khang in Dharamshala earlier today.

In a press statement, TWA remembered and honored the sacrifices Tibetans have made to preserve the Tibetan culture, identity, and freedom and vowed not to let their suffering go in vain.

“Since 2009 to 25 February 2013, one hundred and seven people have self-immolated to protest against the occupation of China. Out of this number, fourteen are female: four nuns, two students, and eight mothers. Twelve of these women died in the protest and two are hospitalised,” TWA said.

The group blamed China’s repressive policies for the self-immolations and urged the international community to “stand for the truth” of Tibet.

“Killings and torture, the separation of the Tibetan people from its spiritual and ethnic head by forbidding them to keep photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (as well as to express their reverence and faith in him), the denial of the freedom of religion, the deterioration of the Tibetan environment by mining, diverging the rivers, deforestation, force resettlement of nomads – all these repressive policies are the core cause of Tibetan self-immolations,” TWA said.

“Since the causes of Tibetan suffering are policies initiated by the Chinese government, the United Nations and International committees must stand for the truth, and pressure Chinese leaders to stop these blatant human rights abuses.”

The women’s group also had a warning for China: “The more Chinese authorities crackdown on Tibetans, the more resistance they will have to challenge.”

A music album titled, ‘Call of longing grief’ (gdungbar) in honour of Tibetan martyrs sung by Karma Dolma, a student of the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah was also released.

After the official function, protesters led by Tibetan women marched down hill to lower Dharamshala raising slogans for Tibet’s freedom and parading photos of Tibetan self-immolators.

Several women activists from all over India and Nepal are currently in New Delhi to take part in a three day-long mass campaign beginning today.

The ‘Tibetans Stand together in Joy and Sorrow’ campaign includes public meeting, women’s peace rally, prayer meeting, silent protest, and all-women lobby campaign.

On March 12, 1959, thousands of Tibetan women gathered in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, peacefully protesting China’s occupation of Tibet. Chinese authorities responded by restoring to brute force, resulting in the deaths, torture, and arrests of a large number of women.

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