Sep 04, 2012

Tibet: Appeal For International Intervention

Members of the Tibetan Youth Congress began an indefinite hunger strike to appeal for international intervention.

Below is an article published by Phayul:

Three executive members of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile, today began an indefinite hunger strike in New Delhi in “solidarity with the self-immolators inside Tibet and to appeal for immediate international intervention” in the unfolding crisis inside Tibet.

Dhondup Lhadar, Vice-President, Penpa Tsering, Organisational Secretary, and Jigme Sholpa, Cultural Secretary of TYC began their indefinite fast at around 12 pm at Jantar Mantar in the Indian capital amidst tight security following the Chinese Defence Minister’s India visit.

In a release, TYC said that earlier hunger strikes in April 2011 in New Delhi and in February 2012 in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York, were called off after the European Parliament committed to "support the ongoing peaceful struggle against the oppression of the Chinese government and to keep the issue of Tibet high on our agenda," and the UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon handed over a letter of assurance signed by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, respectively.

“Since none of the promises have been put into action, and the alarming rise of the number of self-immolations inside Tibet is a huge cause for concern for everyone, TYC decided to launch another hunger strike and show the willingness to sacrifice until the world bodies keep their promises,” the hunger strikers said. 

With the indefinite hunger strike, TYC is appealing the EU, UN, governments and NGOs to immediately fulfill the promises made by them during the earlier TYC hunger strikes through a multilateral approach; demanding China to grant immediate access to governments, international organisations and the media to travel in Tibet to learn about the true conditions within Tibet and to understand the aspiration of Tibetans inside Tibet; and demanding the release of Tibetan prisoners of conscience including the Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and Tulku Tenzin Delek, and a stop to the witch hunts in Tibet targeting intellectuals, religious leaders, poets, musicians, singers and artists.

Speaking at the launch of the indefinite fast, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Member of the Indian Parliament and vice-president of the Bhartiya Janata Party expressed his hope that the day is not far when he will be able to visit Tibet without “fear or restraints.”

The former chief minister of the Indian state of Uttrakhand, which shares borders with Tibet, assured the Tibetans that as long as the Brahmaputra River flows down form Tibet to India, “the cause of Tibet will be upheld and truth shall prevail.”

Also present at the launch were Aasha Reddy, an ardent supporter of Tibet and Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, member of Tibetan parliament. 

Tsewang Rigzin, President of TYC, called on Tibetans in exile to heed to the sacrifices and aspirations of Tibetans in Tibet and take active participation in the campaigns being led by exile groups.

He also urged US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to raise the issue of Tibet with Chinese leaders during her two-day Beijing visit beginning Tuesday.

Since 2009, 51 Tibetans inside Tibet have set themselves on fire demanding Tibet’s freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. The month of August alone witnessed seven self-immolations and a spate of protests, leading to the death and brutal beatings of Tibetan demonstrators.

TYC Vice-President Dhondup Lhadar, who last year sat on hunger strike and went without food for 25 days, said that fasting was “one of the most effective means of non-violent protests”. 

Father of a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Lhadar said that every Tibetan has the responsibility of showing solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet and reiterated his request for Tibetans to “rise up and stand up for Tibet.”

Penpa said that is with his “wife's love, faith and support” that he is sitting on the indefinite hunger strike, “a happy man, taking the right step for Tibet's cause.” Tibetans in India should not stay idle anymore, when lives are being lost on a day to day basis inside Tibet, he added. 

Speaking to reporters, Jigme shared his belief that he has reached the stage, when “without doubt he knew it was his turn to make the ultimate sacrifice for Tibet.”

TYC has called for a ‘Global Day of Protest’ on September 18 to appeal the UN to “immediately intervene and pressure China to douse the fiery protests inside Tibet.”

The Tibetan Youth Congress also urged Tibetans and supporters to take part in a ‘Global Day of Action’ on September 24th by contacting the UN, EU, world leaders and parliamentarians through email, phone and fax for concrete support to resolve the issue of Tibet.