TCHRD honours Tibetan defenders of conscience on Human Rights Day (2012)

Today is the 64th International Human Rights Day, the day the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) the highest form of human aspirations for freedom and human rights.

This year’s theme for Human Rights Day celebrates the rights of all people to freedom of opinion and expression, to peaceful assembly and association, and to participate in official decision-making process.

These rights have been denied to people in Tibet for over six decades. Peaceful protests have been suppressed by force by the law enforcement agencies of the Chinese government as it happened in January 2012 when armed police fired upon unarmed Tibetan protesters in Drango, Serthar and Dzamthang counties in Sichuan Province, killing five known Tibetans and injuring scores of others.

To date, the Chinese government has sentenced about 36 known Tibetans in connection with the 23 January 2012 protest in Drango. In 2012, the Chinese government shuttered some locally-founded Tibetan social, educational and environmental organisations labeling them ‘illegal’. In April 2012, the local government in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture passed a public notice requiring all social organisations to register with Civil Affairs Bureau or risk being termed ‘illegal’ and closed. Registration process for NGOs remained arbitrary, bureaucratic and politically-influenced in Tibet.

This year also witnessed the arbitrary arrests, detention and illegal sentencing of Tibetan activists, writers, singers, and religious personalities causing alarming rise in the number of Tibetan prisoners of conscience.

A number of Tibetan officials were also expelled even as the Chinese government began sending tens of thousands of ‘work team’ officials to Tibetan villages to implement China’s re-education and assimilationist campaign.In Tibet, repression remained systematic, widespread and consistent in 2012.

The impact of official control, surveillance and crackdown on Tibetan aspirations was most manifest in 81 protest self-immolations that took place this year in Tibet. So far, 92 Tibetans have died after burning themselves alive in protest against Chinese rule.

TCHRD welcomes the concerns voiced by the UN Human Rights Commissioner Ms Navi Pillay and others in the international community on Tibetan immolations and Chinese repression in Tibet.

The centre urges for more concerted united, coordinated and concrete international action on resolving the alarming situation in Tibet. As members of the human family, all have a moral and human responsibility to save lives and resolve the crisis in Tibet. Human rights are universal because humanity is universal.

On 10 December 2012, along with all Tibetan defenders of conscience, TCHRD will honour the memory and legacy of a group of Tibetan monks from Drepung monastic university who played a pioneering role in defending human rights and freedom of the Tibetan people by secretly printing and publishing for the first time, a Tibetan translation of the UDHR.

TCHRD will organize an awareness raising activity at 9 am at the Main Temple in Dharamsala informing visitors, distributing pamphlets, T-shirts, posters, stickers and other TCHRD publication to observe Human Rights Day.

On 10 December 2012,  as the international community celebrates the creation of the UDHR 64 years ago, TCHRD invites all to join us in amplifying the voices of Tibetan human rights defenders for their courage and resolve, in the face of extreme repression, to exercise their rights to freedom of opinion and expression, to peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in government.

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