Tag: tibetan democracy day

International Day of Democracy falls on 15 September, less than two weeks after Tibetan Democracy Day
International Day of Democracy falls on 15 September, less than two weeks after Tibetan Democracy Day (Photo: UN)

Today marks the 54th anniversary of the Tibetan Democracy Day. On this important occasion, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) would like to extend greetings to the Tibetan people living in and out of Tibet. Fifty-four years ago, on 2 September 1960, under the leadership of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the first Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies (CTPD) took their oaths of office in Dharamsala, India. This ushered in, for the first time in our history, a system of political governance based on the principles of liberal democracy. The CTPD is now known as the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.

In the decades since the first CTPD was sworn in, Tibetan democracy in exile has evolved. The exile Tibetan leadership and public became progressively more active and took many important decisions. In 1963, a constitution for future Tibet was adopted. This constitution established the rules for how the Tibetan government-in-exile would function. It was followed by the adoption of the ‘Charter for Tibetans in exile’ in 1991, which paved the way for more direct representation in the exile Tibetan government. This led to the direct election of Kalon Tripa (head of the exile Tibetan administration) in 2001, a profusion of non-governmental organizations, including TCHRD, and most significantly, the devolution of the Dalai Lama’s political authority to an elected leadership in March 2011.

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Report CoverThe Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy commemorates the 53rd anniversary of Tibetan Democracy Day, by releasing a report titled Ending Impunity: Crimes Against Humanity in Tibet. On 2 September, Tibetans all over the world celebrate the Tibetan Democracy Day. This latest report from TCHRD focuses on international criminal justice and argues that the conduct of high-level Chinese government officials in Tibet constitutes ‘crimes against humanity’.

This report demonstrates that even though the International Criminal Court (ICC) lacks jurisdiction to investigate the situation in Tibet, the Party officials of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have committed crimes against humanity in Tibet. The ICC’s lack of jurisdiction does not change the nature of crimes committed in Tibet.  The inability of the ICC to investigate the situation in Tibet does not mean there is no role for international criminal justice in Tibet. Recognising that international crimes defined by the Rome Statute have been committed in Tibet gives international actors powerful legal and rhetorical tools outside of the ICC.

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