A four-member delegation representing the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) and the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) will visit Dharamsala (India) to observe the preliminary elections for the Sikyong (‘Tibetan political leader’) and members of the 16th Tibetan Parliament from 15 to 20 October 2015.
ADN is a civil society led multi-stakeholders’ platform among democracy advocates and human rights defenders dedicated to the strengthening of democracy and human rights. ANFREL is an Asian regional network of civil society organizations focused on elections and election monitoring; and strives to promote and support democratization at national and regional levels in Asia. ANFREL has served towards strengthening the democratization of countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East Timor and Indonesia.
The two main objectives of the delegation are to increase the profile of the exile Tibetan elections among the international community and analyze the current state of the Tibetan elections and provide findings on observed strengths and weaknesses. The delegation members will meet with exile Tibetan leadership, officials of the Central Tibetan Administration, civil society groups, media and the general public. The delegation will visit polling booths in Dharamsala, Kullu-Manali and Bir Tibetan Society.
The members of the delegation are: Mr Pradip Ghimire, coordinator of National Election Monitoring Alliance (NEMA), Nepal; Mr Tur-Od Lkhagvajav, president of Transparency International, Mongolia; Mr Ryan D. Whelan, campaign & advocacy coordinator (ANFREL); and Ms Kanchan Khatri, Program Officer (NEMA), Nepal.
ADN and ANFREL, representing diverse groups of Asian civil society networks working for the strengthening of democracy and human rights, have expressed their solidarity with the Tibetan people in their quest for democracy and their historic redefining of the meaning of democracy as being restricted only to States. Through collective will and determination, and by overcoming the obstacles of statelessness, the Tibetan people continue to uphold the principles of democracy in a borderless democracy.
On 18 October 2015, Tibetans in the diaspora will go to vote in the preliminary election for Sikyong, the Tibetan political leader and head of CTA, as well as the 45-member Tibetan parliament in exile. Candidates garnering required number of votes will qualify for the final election on 20 March 2016. Polling booths are set up all over the world where Tibetans reside outside Tibet. As of 10 October 2015, the total number of registered voters for the preliminary election was 87179. The breakdown of this figure is as follows: 45748 [U-Tsang], 20613 [Dotoe], 4369 [Domey], 9803 [North America], 5694 [Europe], 952 [Australasia], 355 [Nyingma], 965 [Kagyu], 907 [Sakya], 6671 [Gelug], and 281 [Bon].
On 20 October 2015, the delegation will address a press conference at 9 am at Hotel Norbu House. The delegation will present preliminary findings of their report at the press conference followed by a Q & A with the media persons. The delegation will release a more expansive report a month later.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in association with International Campaign for Tibet will be hosting the delegation during their mission in Dharamsala.