The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is committed to advancing human rights and democracy in Tibet and the exiled Tibetan community by empowering Tibetan advocates and monitoring, documenting, and campaigning against human rights abuses.
We envision a future where every Tibetan can exercise human rights and democratic freedoms.
Equality, non-violence, justice, dignity, empowerment, and courage.
TCHRD is the first Tibetan non-governmental human rights organization established in exile. Founded in January 1996, it is based in Dharamshala in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and registered as an NGO under Section 2 of the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860.
Mr. Lobsang Nyandak was the founding executive director. He was succeeded by Ms. Tsewang Lhadon, Mr. Ugyen Tenzin, and the current Executive Director, Ms. Tsering Tsomo, in 2011.
The centre started as a section within the Department of International and Information Relations (DIIR) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the Tibetan government-in-exile.
The centre transitioned into a non-governmental organization and moved out of the DIIR premises to its own office in Dharamshala.
TCHRD is currently a member of the Geneva-based World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, and International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) and collaborates with numerous leading human rights NGOs.
Rinchen Khando Choegyal was born in Kandze, eastern Tibet, and escaped to exile in 1959. Mrs. Choegyal received her B.A. degree at Loreto College in Darjeeling, India. She is a founding member of the Tibetan Women’s Association and served as its President from 1984 until her nomination to the Tibetan Cabinet in 1994. She is the Director of the Tibetan Nuns Project (founded under the Tibetan Women’s Association), which facilitates education and builds nunneries for nuns escaping Tibet. She has also served as the Minister of Education in the Central Tibetan Administration, a post in which she was responsible for overseeing the education of all Tibetan children living in exile in India and Nepal. She is married to the younger brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Choegyal, and is the mother of two children.
Phunrab Lobsang Dhargyal was born in Lhasa in 1937. He worked for Drakyap Rinpoche, the 14th reincarnation of Ka-dam Geshe Potowa Rinchen, and escaped with him to India in 1959. He studied English in Kalimpong while teaching Tibetan to other students. He accompanied Drakyab Rinpoche to Lugsum Samdupling camp in Bylakuppe in 1963, where he led education programs for adults in the centre for the next six years. During that time, he became a board member of the Federation of the Tibetan Cooperatives India Ltd and later served as its secretary. In 1969, Mr. Dhargyal was elected to the 4th Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies (CTPD) – the then name for the Tibetan Parliament in exile, in the first three terms as the representative of U-Tsang Province. By the 6th CTPD, he was elected as the Vice-Chairman. In 1979, he served as a member of the first fact-finding delegation to Tibet. In the following decades, he served in various positions for the Tibetan government in exile, including secretary, cabinet minister, and chief justice commissioner. He retired in 2002 after serving ten years as the chief justice commissioner.
Mr. Tempa Tsering served the Central Tibetan Administration in various capacities for over four decades. From 1974-80, he was the deputy secretary at the Department of Information and International Relations of Central Tibetan Administration; from 1981-85, he worked as deputy secretary (and later as additional secretary) at the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama; from 1988-90 as the additional secretary at the Department of Home; as chief coordinator in Bangalore at the Chief Representative’s Office for the five settlements in the state of Karnataka; and from 1991-99 as the secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations;
In 2000, he was elected minister after his nomination by the Dalai Lama. He worked as a minister for the Department of Home until the term of the 11th Cabinet. In 2006, he served as the Kalon for the Department of Information and International Relations while serving as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s representative in New Delhi. He remained in his position in New Delhi until his retirement in 2016.
Youdon Aukatsang earned an MA in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, and an MA in International Politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University; after a BA from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. Mrs. Aukatsang worked as the Senior Program Officer at TCHRD for four years from 2000. She was also a member of the executive committee of the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and worked as a Research Associate at the TWA from 1994 to 1996. For more than 20 years, she has served the Tibetan community in various capacities; she was previously elected to the 14th, 15th, and 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile and was the founding director of Empowering the Vision Project (ENVISION). She is currently ENVISION’s managing trustee and is a member of the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile from Dhotoe province.
Tsering Tsomo has more than two decades of experience working in research and media at the Tibetan Women’s Association, the New Delhi Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration, as well as the Tibetan Review journal. She was educated at Tibetan Homes School (Mussoorie), Delhi University, and New York University. She is also a founding member of Network for Asia Pacific Youth, and her writings have appeared in various Tibetan exile and international publications. She joined as Executive Director of TCHRD in December 2011.
Every member of TCHRD’s permanent staff is a Tibetan in exile.