c/o International Tibet Network
1310 Fillmore Street, #401
CA 94115, USA
22 March 2013
To: Environment Ministers of the Governments of India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.
cc Mrs Irina Bokuva, Director General, UNESCO
Today is World Water Day 2013 in the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. We are writing to share our concerns about the impact of China’s policies – especially its dam-building programme – on Asia’s regional water security, and to urge your government to join forces with other downstream nations to pressure China to enter into appropriate water-sharing agreements.
Over the last sixty years, China’s policies in Tibet, often called the earth’s “Third Pole” and the source of Asia’s great rivers, have led to widescale environmental degradation. This includes poisoned river and groundwater through unregulated mining, grasslands ecosystem degradation, and disrupted watershed and ecosystem services in the headwaters of these rivers, which has worsened already acute and chronic flooding downstream from Tibet, including your countries. In turn, global climate change is warming the Tibetan Plateau at twice the rate of the rest of the world, and the impact of this on Asia’s water supplies is exacerbated by China’s extensive dam-building programme, to harness hydro-power and divert water to mainland China. This programme threatens the safety, security, and sustainable livelihoods of more than one billion people downstream.
By claiming authority over the Water Tower of Asia, China is wielding considerable power over its neighbouring countries, yet it has not signed a single water sharing agreement. We urge you to act now to secure your future water supplies, by joining together with your counterparts in other nations downstream of the Tibetan plateau, and bring China to the negotiating table to sign appropriate regional and international water-sharing agreements.
Ms Dhardon Sharling, Co Chair, on behalf of The International Tibet Network Secretariat, Tibetan Women’s Association and Tibet Justice Centre
Indian Parliamentarians call on Prime Minister to raise Tibet with Chinese leaders
Photos of the campaign can be viewed here:
March 15, 2013, New Delhi: The 3-day ‘Tibet advocacy campaign’ was held in the Indian capital city from March 13 – 15 in coinciding with budget session of Indian Parliament.
The advocacy¬ team met with over 20 members of the Indian Parliament from both the houses Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha and from varied political parties: Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Shri Inder Singh, Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Shri Joseph Toppo, Shri Sansuma Kunggur Bwiswmuthiary, Shri Rishang Keishing, Shri Takam Sanjoy, Dr. Karan Singh,
Ms. Agata Sangma, Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav, Smt. Smriti Irani, Prof. Anil Kumar Sahani, Shri Baishnap Parida,Shri Pradeep Battacharya, Shri Sohan Potai, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Dr Pradeep Balmuchu, Shri Deeraj Sahu, Dr. Ajay Kumar and Shri. Ninong Ering, Minister of State, Minority Affairs.
Jointly organized by Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and Students for a Free Tibet, India (SFT India) and coordinated by the International Tibet Network in the light of an unprecedented spate of self-immolations of Tibetans inside Tibet- 107 Tibetans, the campaign aimed to gather Government support and diplomatic intervention to redress the grim situation inside Tibet.
TWA’s General Secretary Nyima Lhamo said “the advocacy team engaged the Indian Parliamentarians in a strategic discussion to ensure an institutional support and tangible action to assert multilateral pressure on the Chinese leadership to resolve the Tibet crisis.”
“Through this campaign we have appealed the Parliamentarians to urge Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to raise the issue of self immolations in Tibet during his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the upcoming BRICS summit scheduled to be held in Durban this month end,” said Dorjee Tseten, National Director of SFT India.
Mani Shankar Aiyar, former minister and now a member of Rajya Sabha told the team that the self-immolation protests inside Tibet are critical and needs urgent intervention and therefore could possibly effectuate a diplomatic expression from the Indian leadership to it’s Chinese counterpart.
Ram Vilas Paswan, former minister, now a Rajya Sabha MP and chief of Lok Janshakti party produced a copy of a letter showcasing a ‘January 22 written question urging Prime Minister to ‘sympathetically look into the matter of heightened repression in Tibet’, and a subsequent February 9 acknowledgement from Dr. Manmohan Singh.’
In a swift response to the advocacy campaign, independent Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrashekar tweeted about the self-immolations in Tibet and subsequently sent a letter to the Prime Minister drawing his attention to the same. “I urge you to support the cause of Tibetan freedom by issuing a strong statement in light of current human rights violation and crisis in Tibet and raise this issue with the Chinese President at the upcoming BRICS meeting on 26 and 27 March 2013, in Durban, South Africa” wrote Rajeev. View the copy of the letter here:
“Within 2 days, 11 MPs signed the ‘Stand up for Tibet’ pledge, which has already garnered 50,000 signatories. The copies of the signed ‘pledge’ and an exclusive appeal letter was delivered to the Prime Minister’s office today,” said Tsering Choedup from International Tibet Network.
The team also met with leaders and office bearers of National Political parties and delivered the advocacy kit. The campaign also requested the Indian Parliamentarians to make possible the invitation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to address the Indian Parliament, and to also invite Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the political leader of Tibet to present on Tibet, in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Indian Parliament.
The advocacy campaign will be an on-going campaign in India with substantial follow-ups with the Indian lawmakers.
Nyima Lhamo, General Secretary, TWA: 0-9882502821
Dorjee Tsetan, National Director, SFT India :0-9882344883
Global Tibet Movement Condemns China’s Escalating Crackdown after Tibetans shot and beaten in eastern Tibet
Vows to Intensify Efforts for Multilateral Pressure on China as Tibetans continue to Self-immolate for Freedom
January 23, 2012: The 185 Tibet advocacy organizations that form the International Tibet Network (1) strongly condemn China’s policies and continued crackdown in Tibet that have provoked an unprecedented wave of self-immolations by Tibetan monks, nuns and laypeople. Each individual who has carried out the act of self-immolation has demanded freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. We vow to intensify our efforts in support of Tibetans inside Tibet and call on world governments, international institutions, and the global community to pressure China to address Tibetan grievances before more lives are lost.
On 23 January Tibetans in Drango, Kardze, eastern Tibet began demonstrating, possibly following the arrests of Tibetans suspected of distributing political leaflets around the area. Chinese security forces opened fire as large numbers of Tibetans marched towards a government office. A Tibetan named Yonten is reported to have been killed and a number of others injured (2). These events follow an incident in Ngaba (Sichuan Province) on 14 January, when Chinese security forces severely injured two Tibetans through beatings, and shot at least two others after layman Lobsang Jamyang self-immolated. Tibetans became distressed and angry after witnessing Chinese police beating Lobsang Jamyang; they began to protest and attempted to reclaim the dying man, but police beat and opened fire on some in the crowd. There have been unconfirmed reports that a woman was killed and – as in Drango – those injured are apparently not seeking medical help for fear of arrest (3).
To date there have been 17 self-immolations in eastern Tibet (4); four since 6 January 2012. At least 12 of these self-immolations have been fatal. One of these, 42-year old respected monk Lama Sopa who set light to himself and died on 8 January, left behind a tape-recording in which he paid his respects to those who had self-immolated before him. He said, “Tibet’s future as a glorious country depends on the efforts of these heroes and heroines and all of you united as one”. He offered his life for the “well-being of Tibet’s six million people and especially of all high lamas, headed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama” (5).
At least two other Tibetans have been killed as a result of China’s security response (6). There have been numerous detentions and arrests in connection to the self-immolations. In Ngaba, three monks were charged in connection to the March 2011 self-immolation of a fellow monk from Kirti monastery, and received prison sentences of between 10 and 13 years (7).
The self-immolations have so far been centered in eastern Tibet (8), areas that since demonstrations occurred across the Tibetan plateau in 2008 have been flooded with armed troops and virtually closed off from the world. Many monasteries have been all but shut down and Tibetans are routinely harassed by the authorities in the streets, in their workplaces and in their homes. The region has also seen a surge in other forms of protest.
The scale of this crisis and China’s unwillingness to acknowledge international concern warrants a strong international response. The worldwide membership of the International Tibet Network condemns China’s flagrant disregard for fundamental human rights and its cruel and systematic assault on the Tibetan people.
We urge all governments to:
i. Publicly condemn China’s use of force against unarmed Tibetan protestors, and
ii. Urge China to cease all extralegal actions and policies that are contributing to the tensions, unrest and self-immolations in Tibet, and to respond positively to the calls of Tibetans for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama.
We further urge governments to vigorously pursue actions in appropriate international forums that will focus the attention of the government of the People’s Republic of China on the severity of the situation in Tibet and on the legitimate concern of the international community that Tibetans enjoy the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants to which China is a party.
1. The International Tibet Network is a global coalition of 185 Tibet related non-governmental organizations, which works to maximise the effectiveness of the worldwide Tibet movement. In response to this crisis, Network Members have been lobbying governments and parliaments, taking part in Global Days of Action to raise public awareness and, working in partnership with Avaaz, generating the support of hundreds of thousands of people. See Stand Up for Tibet.
3. For more information see reports by the International Campaign for Tibet. The status of those injured and the timing of Lobsang Jamyang’s death are details which are not currently possible to confirm absolutely.
4. There have been 16 self-immolations in eastern Tibet since March 2011, in addition to one in February 2009. Details of each case and a map showing the locations of these self-immolations can be found at http://standupfortibet.org/further-information/
6. Two elderly Tibetans died after being beaten by security personnel as they tried to prevent over 300 monks in Kirti Monastery, Ngaba, from being taken away in April 2011. There are unconfirmed reports that a woman died as a result of police action in Ngaba on 14 January 2012 – a woman named Choki Dawa is said to be in a critical condition (see 2). In April 2011 the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported that a 24-year old Tibetan man, Chukpel, had died of his injuries after being beaten severely by police after he protested outside a local police station in the Ngaba area.
7. The three monks were sentenced in August 2011. One of those was the uncle of the monk Phuntsok who self-immolated and died in March 2011. There is no evidence they had any involvement in Phuntsok’s death.
8. All the self-immolations to date have taken place in the Tibetan regions of Amdo and Kham, which are today part of China’s Sichuan and Qinghai Provinces and extend into the Tibet Autonomous Region. See map at http://standupfortibet.org/further-information/
Signed by Members of the International Tibet Network
A.C.T. Tibet Support Group
Aide aux Refugies Tibetains
Amigos del Tibet, El Salvafor
Anterrashtriya Bharat – Tibbet Sahyog Samiti
Asociacion Cultural Peruano Tibetana
Asociacion Cultural Tibetano – Costarricense
Association Cognizance Tibet, North Carolina
Association Drôme Ardèche-Tibet
Association of Free Tibet
Association Rencontres Tibetaines – C.S.P.T. Midi-Pyrenees
Australia Tibet Council
Australian Tibet House Inc.
Austrian Committee for Tibet
Bay Area Friends of Tibet
Bharrat Tibbat Sahyog Manch, India
Boston Tibet Network
Briancon05 Urgence Tibet
Caisse d’Aide aux Prisonniers Tibetains
Canada Tibet Committee
Casa del Tibet – Spain
Casa Tibet Mexico
Centro De Cultura Tibetana
Circle of Friends (Philippines)
Colorado Friends of Tibet
Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT)
Comite de Soutien au Peuple Tibetain (Les Lilas)
Committee of 100 for Tibet
Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India
Corse – Tibet
CTC – Calgary
Dhokam Chushi Gangdruk
Fair Society o.s.
Foundation for Universal Responsibility
Friends of Tibet – Isamailia (Egypt)
Friends of Tibet in Costa Rica
Friends of Tibet in Finland
Friends of Tibet New Zealand
Friends of Tibet Slovakia
Friends of Tibet Society St. Petersburg, Russia
Fundacion Pro Tibet
Groupe Non-Violent Louis Lecoin, France
Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete, Portugal
Grupo De Apoyo a Tibet Chile
Grupo Pro-Cultura Tibetana, Chile
Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights – Tibet Desk
Himalayan Committee for Action on Tibet
India Tibet Friendship Society
International Campaign for Tibet
International Campaign for Tibet Deutschland
International Campaign for Tibet Europe
International Society of Human Rights, Munich Chapter (IGFM)
International Tibet Independence Movement
International Youth Human Rights Group – Human Rights in Tibet
Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People
Jamtse Thundel Association
Japan Association of Monks for Tibet
Japan Committee of 100 for TIbet
La Porte du Tibet, Geneva
Le Club Francais
Les Amis du Tibet – Belgium
Les Amis du Tibet – Luxembourg
Lions Des Neiges Mont Blance, France
Lithuanian Tibet Culture Foundation
Los Angeles Friends of Tibet
Mahatma Gandhi Tibet Freedom Movement
Maison des Himalayas
Maison du Tibet – Tibet Info
National Campaign for Tibetan Support, India
National Democratic Party of Tibet
Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association
Nos Amis de l’Himalaya
Ns3 Rigpa Community Builder’s Foundation
Pensando En Tibet – Mexico
Phagma Drolma-Arya Tara
Polish Movement for a Free Tibet
Raise Tibetan Flag Campaign
Reseau International des Femmes pour le Tibet
Roof of the World Foundation, Indonesia
Sakya Trinley Ling
San Diego Friends of Tibet
Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet
Save Tibet, Austria
Save Tibet Foundation
Sierra Friends of Tibet
Society for Croatia-Tibet Friendship
Society for Threatened Peoples International
South African Friends of Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet – Bangladesh
Students for a Free Tibet – France
Students for a Free Tibet – India
Students for a Free Tibet – Japan
Students for a Free Tibet – UK
Students for a Free Tibet – Canada
Students for a Free Tibet New Zealand
Students for a Free Tibet, Poland
Swedish Tibet Committee
Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association (GSTF)
Taiwan Friends of Tibet
Taiwan Tibet Exchange Foundation
The Foundation for Civil Society, Russia
The Norwegian Tibet Committee
The Tibetan Alliance of Chicago
The World Tibet Day Foundation
The Youth Liberation Front of Tibet, Mongolia and Turkestan
Tibet 59 / 62
Tibet Action Group of Western Australia
Tibet cesky (Tibet in Czech)
Tibet Committee of Fairbanks
Tibet Initiative Deutschland
Tibet Justice Center
Tibet Liberte Solidarite
Tibet Libertes, France
Tibet Lives, India
Tíbet Patria Libre, Uruguay
Tibet Society, U.K.
Tibet Solidarity Forum, Bangladesh
Tibet Support Association – Hungary
Tibet Support Committee Denmark
Tibet Support Group – Ireland
Tibet Support Group – Krasnodar Region, Russia
Tibet Support Group – Netherlands
Tibet Support Group – Romania
Tibet Support Group – Sochi Region, Russia
Tibet Support Group Adelaide – Australia
Tibet Support Group Kenya
Tibet Support Group Kiku, Japan
Tibet Support Network Japan
Tibet Unterstutzung Liechtenstein
Tibetan Association of Germany
Tibetan Association of Ithaca
Tibetan Association of Northern California
Tibetan Association of Philadephia
Tibetan Association of Santa Fe
Tibetan Association of Southern California
Tibetan Buddhist Center (Singapore)
Tibetan Community Austria
Tibetan Community in Britain
Tibetan Community in Denmark
Tibetan Community in Ireland
Tibetan Community in Poland
Tibetan Community of Australia (Victoria)
Tibetan Community of Italy
Tibetan Community Sweden
Tibetan Cultural Association – Quebec
Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre
Tibetan Programme of The Other Space Foundation
Tibetan Rights and Freedom Committee
Tibetan Student Association, Madras (TSAM)
Tibet Support Group Belgium, de Vrienden van Tibet
Tibetan Women’s Association
Tibetan Women’s Association and Friends Australia
Tibetan Youth Association in Europe
Tibetan Youth Congress
Tibetan Youth UK
Tibetisches Zentrum Hamburg
Tibets Kinder im Exile V.
Toronto Tibet Youth Congress
TSG – Slovenia (Formally Foundation Dharmaling)
TSG Free Tibet And You
Tsowa-Maintenir la Vie, France
U.S. Tibet Committee
Union Latvija Tibetai (Latvia for Tibet )
United Nations for a Free Tibet (UNFFT)
Western Colorado Friends of Tibet
Wisconsin Tibetan Association
Zida Cels, Latvia