Dharamshala, India — Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration has called on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, to visit Tibet to assess the human rights situation, particularly the pressing situation in Larung Gar and Yachen Gar.
The call has been made during an official function by Prime Minister Dr Sangay to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid, on the 'International Human Rights Day'.
Thousands of Tibetans, friends and supporters gathered at the main temple courtyard to observe Word Human Rights Day on Saturday, and also celebrated the 27tn anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Peace prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama by the Nobel Committee in 1989.
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay and Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel attended the annual function along with other top officials, representatives of Tibetan non-governmental organisations and members of the Tibetan public.
Sikyong Dr Sangay in his statement extolled the values espoused by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his efforts to make the world a better and more peaceful place. At the same time, Sikyong drew attention towards the critical human rights situation prevailing inside Tibet particularly the ongoing destruction of Larung Gar monastery in eastern Tibet.
"Along with the 27th anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Peace prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, today is also the 68th year since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, the serious human rights violation in Tibet doesn't leave much for the Tibetan people to celebrate," Sikyong said.
"China's total disregard for human rights is currently demonstrated by the on-going massive demolition at Larung Gar, the largest Tibetan Buddhist Institute in the world founded by Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, is home to thousands of Tibetans and Chinese devotees from Mainland China. It is estimated that the institute housed more than 10,000 devotees and, after the demolition, the number will be reduced to 5000 monks and nuns. Saddened by the Chinese government's destructive action, three nuns of the institute – Rigzin Dolma, Tsering Dolma and Semgha – committed suicide."
"Similar evictions were also imposed on Yachen Gar, another major monastic institute in Tibet. Human Rights Watch has reported that since about April 2016, up to 1,000 nuns at Yachen Gar, another major monastery in Tibet, have been compelled to leave the institution and return to their homes. The families of nuns were threatened with punishment, including withdrawal of government aid, if they failed to bring home any of their relatives from the monastery. They are also barred from attending nunneries in their home areas in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)."
Further highlighting human rights abuses by Chinese occupation forces, Dr Sangay said "Since 2009, 145 brave Tibetans have committed self-immolation of which sadly 125 have died. Recent reports emanating out of Tibet suggest that the Chinese police have detained and tortured Tibetans protesting against mining activities in Dechen district in Kham. The whereabouts of the two young women who staged a protest in Ngaba town, carrying photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and raising slogan such as “Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama” and the young boy in a solo protest in Kardze remain unknown."
"Although this year is the 40th year since the end of the Cultural Revolution but the disturbing developments in Larung Gar and Yachen Gar are reminiscent of the bitter experiences of the Cultural Revolution," he remarked and called on the peace loving Chinese citizens o raise their voice against the injustices inflicted on Tibetans inside Tibet.
At the same time, Sikyong expressed optimism in the Middle Way Policy of the Central Tibetan Administration to resolve the Tibet issue. "The Chinese leadership will realize that their policies in Tibet are flawed and have failed in winning the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people. Given Tibet's past status as a historically independent nation and the current repression under Chinese occupation, the resolution to the Tibet issue is possible only through constructive dialogue between the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the representatives of the Chinese leadership," he said.
Referring to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a great champion of Peace, Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, in his statement, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has travelled to all parts of the globe and directed his efforts at ensuring the well being of all sentient beings through his message of non-violence and peace.
He also recalled His Holiness the Dalai Lama's recent visits to Japan and Mongolia and lauded the emphasis that His Holiness placed on logic rather than just engaging in rituals.
The Tibetan Parliament also condemned China for over reacting to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's spiritual visit to Mongolia. "There was no way anyone could agree with the contentions of the government of China and heed its demands. Tibet and Mongolia have a unique and close historical fraternal relationship based on ties of teacher and disciple and this cannot be destroyed by anyone. Therefore, irrespective of warnings and protests from the government of China, the government of Mongolia has this time allowed His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be invited to the country, thereby enabling him to give religious teachings there. This was not only the appropriate thing to do but also became a source of great benefits for both the immediate and long term good of the government and people of Mongolia," he said.
The Speaker also emphasised its commitment to the Middle Way Policy to resolve the Tibet issue and called on China to resolve the Tibet issue through dialogue. "The government of China knows that this is not a separatist demand and that we are only seeking to remain under the jurisdiction of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China. Nevertheless, it makes use of every available opportunity to keep referring to us as separatists. We demand that the government of China change by giving up this futile and hardline policy and instead immediately take up for consideration a peaceful settlement that will be mutually beneficial both immediately and on long-term basis to both the sides."
He further expressed the Tibetan Parliament's concern at the ongoing violation of Tibetan people's fundamental rights in the name of progress and development.
"The government of China is spending many billions of yuan to build and multiply railway tracks from cities in China to various destinations in Tibet. However, its real purpose is to speed up the policy to make Tibet a colony of China within the shortest possible time," he said.
"The situation concerning the natural environment in Tibet has been deteriorating and becoming ever more serious day by day. Even today, the Chinese government continues to persecute many innocent Tibetans in all manners of atrocities including through arrest, torture and imprisonment. According to a most recent information received from Tibet on 6 December 2016, the Intermediate People's Court of Barkham, the seat of the so-called Ngaba Autonomous Prefecture (incorporated into China's Sichuan Province) has sentenced some ten Tibetans – from both the lay and monastic community to prison terms of 5 to 14 years," he added.
The commemoration also featured cultural performances by artistes from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and presentation of medals and certificates to retired and long-serving civil servants.
Upholding human rights is in the interest of all and are at the heart of the work and identify of the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed eve of Human Rights Day, calling on the international community to "stand up for someone's rights today, tomorrow and every day."
In his message on the Day, Mr. Ban recalled that over the decade of his tenure as UN chief, he has repeatedly stressed the interdependence of the three pillars of the Organization – peace, sustainable development and human rights.
"Together, they form the basis of resilient and cohesive societies rooted in inclusion, justice and the rule of law," he said, noting that human rights are also at the heart of the work of the UN.
In a global call for activism, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that today's events in the world make many among us anxious; even fearful. "We see human beings in pain. Decent values under attack. Messages of hatred and intolerance – divisive visions of the world which drive increasing selfishness, isolation, scapegoating [and] violence."
This year's observance under the theme: "Stand Up For Someone's Rights Today," is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 51st anniversary of the two international covenants on human rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966.
In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe December 10 of each year as Human Rights Day.