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Parliament’s removal of the Chief Justice and two Justice Commissioners is as unwise as it is unjust

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Member of Parliament from Australia Kyinzom Dhongdue (Photo:SBS)

By Kyinzom Dhongdue/ Member of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile

29 March 2021

We are living in a time of great upheaval that brings both challenges and opportunities for Tibet. China’s relationship with world governments has evolved dramatically since 2020. Covid-19 safety concerns, although genuine, should not have prevented our Parliament from meeting last year and debating on the opportunities that this change presents for Tibet. Options to convene our session in a Covid-safe manner were available to us: We could have all met online, or a handful could have sat in the chamber with the majority joining remotely. The 16th Parliament failed to fulfil both constitutional and political responsibilities by not holding a session in September 2020. As a sitting MP, I accept my responsibility for this dereliction of duty.

Our democratic institutions are among our greatest assets. They are the seeds of the government we will one day rightfully re-establish in Tibet. We have to do better than how the Parliament behaved this past week, resulting in the unfair dismissal of the Chief Justice and two Justice Commissioners of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission. The decision is as unwise as it is unjust. Moreover, it sets a dangerous precedent for MPs to overreach with their parliamentary powers and privileges.

The decision, made in only a few hours, raises serious concerns over how the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile conducts its businesses. MPs are afforded little to no time to engage in careful considerations of the issues presented to us, even one as consequential as this, often compelling members to vote based on one’s affiliation to groups or factions and not on their own merit.

The democratic institutions that Tibetans have built under His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s leadership is a key pillar in our freedom struggle and, if nurtured and protected, will serve us well long into the future. They are no place for muscle-flexing, massaging of individual egos or factionalism. Decisions such as that made by the Parliament last week weaken these very institutions and betray those who put their faith in us as their elected representatives. We are a young democracy. But we can do better than this. Let us reflect on this moment and where we go from here.

(Kyinzon Dhongdue is a Member of Parliament from Australia)

13 Responses

  1. Thank you Kyzom la for your comments. Hope people in Dharamsala are listening. My question is, if the decision to fire the judges was against our constitution, how come the judges accepted this decision without a fight? I feel the judges should have stood their ground knowing how it would impact our government’s whole system. If they have stayed on, by now everything would have been ironed out when people realized that this action was a huge mistake and not legal. Now that we have reached the stage where people are suggesting passing this burden to His Holiness, the judges must not continue to stand by and remain silent. They must see the whole picture and have the courage to fight along with public and help to right the wrong. This will remove the burden we are about to place upon His Holiness and Tibetan people’s distress over this huge issue.

  2. The opinion expressed by the Australian MP is to the point and valid. Everything stemmed from the point of not convening the parliament session last year. It could have been convened some participating physically who lived in India and the rest via Zoom meeting. That didn’t happen. Even if the quorum wasn’t available, it gave the speaker an excuse to postpone the meeting for another 6 months. But he chose not to blaming the Covid. Therein was the whole point how this problem stemmed. His excuse was the meeting has to have happened in a brick and mortar physical building. Common, we are in the 21st century. Dose the charter mention specifically as such? Pema Jungnay created this MESS and when time got tough, instead of solving the mess ,he ran away with his tail squeezed in between his legs. This amounts a clear failure of leadership.

  3. My respect and thank you for Member of Parliament from Australia Kyinzom Dhongdue and all other tibetans for speaking out for truth. It is a very big lesson for us. Hope our country men working in the Parliament and Kashag doesn’t do anymore whatever they want. Let us look forward!

  4. No more blame game.. it is we public who chose our parliamentarians, so make sure to bring up who can contribute from a grassroots levels..

  5. Two-thirds of MPs decided to replace the chief justice and two judicial commissioners.

    In a country with democracy and the rule of law, no matter how old you are, you can’t do whatever you want. I think the congressmen made the right decision.

  6. It is unfair and irresponsible to issue a statement against the motion that secured majority support by someone who, herself is a MP and did not attend the parliament session. This kind of intention and conduct would not help to minimize current turmoil instead it would add fuel to the fire.

  7. Thank you for speaking out and standing by what is right. Our north America Chithu should speak out too. I urge that our chithu should also voice on this issue too. We demand justice for our Tibetan justice commissioners.

    1. North America chitue represents the majority voice not a fringe group that wants to stir up problem. Tibetan Americans are going through a hard time such as Asian hate. We would like our chitue member to speak on issue affecting us not be dragged into dirty politics.

  8. Tashi delek !!
    Our Democracy in exile is having only two Pillars!! It’s good to know hear that there is someone who take the responsible what happen !! It’s good to know the failure but it’s best to correct it and go forward !!

  9. A pioneering step by one of our MPs . We need more MPs like her who the audacity to make a statement like that and we hope that wisdom of hers won’t go unnoticed and rub on to other MPs and they will also support this with you in due time .
    And for that we salute to you coz u give us hope for a better future 🙌🏼

  10. Someone who failed in their duty and is now trying to re-write history and pretend she wasn’t part of the problem.

    1. How about u learn tibetan charter n see sec..54 which clearly says its not allowed even to discuss the removal of TSJC without forming committe 1st to assess the matter… atleast appreciate ppl wen they do things right ..dont live in past blind urself with hatred..

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