March 12, 2004: Let us not forget, too, on this day to remember and honor the many women who soon after coming into exile, took initiative for the continuance and safeguardiing of Tibetan culture and identity against extreme odds in the early refugee life in India. Many of their pioneering projects immensely contributed to gainful employment of women and preservation of Tibetan arts and crafts. Their indomitable and exemplary courage reflects the original spirit of the Lhasa Uprising.
The re-founding of the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) on 10th September 1984, with blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, was a history in itself over which we all take great pride. since then we have come a long way with 44 regional chapters and over 12,000 members outside (in exiled Tibet) Tibet. Today, we are a major force in our exile community-be it the upliftment of women or creating awareness about the plight of Tibet in general, and human rights issues faced by women in tibet, in particular, at various international forums. Our actions in the run up to the U.N. World Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995, was a case in example with that spawned unprecedented world attention.
TWA is a unique women’s association. Members of TWA are not against their men folk in society but are rather with them-hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder-to reassert our legitimate rights for a free Tibet. to keep up with our efforts, continuing tragic events within Tibet remained the focus of our attention. The most urgent and serious human rights violations within Tibet are forced mobile sterilization of women and rampant arbitrary imprisonment and execution of influential religious leaders like Tulku Tenzin Delek, Khenpo Jigmey Phuntsok, and Geshe Sonam Phuntsok. The complete lack of international action regarding the release of Tibet’s prominent prisoners of conscience, Panchen Lama and Phuntsok Nyidron, has, intrun, motivated us in running vigorous campaigns for their rightful freedom.
Aware of the systematic desgns for destruction, we are watching with grave concern the ongoing western development project initiated by Beijing in Tibet. Let us all pledge to give a determined fight with all our will and action to avert such a catastrophe before it is too late. Negotiation is the only viable way to create our own future. We must mobilize all possible support internationally to pressurize Beijing for an uncoditional dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for it is also in the interest of Beijing.
Faced with such serious threat within Tibet, it hardly needs any calling for tibetans all over the world to come togeteher and be ever more resolutely united under the enlighted leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in complete solidarity with his “middle path” approach. Under no circumstances can we allow ourselves to be torn into divisive forces to weaken our collective synergy given the size of our population.
With affirmation of our full faith in the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and prayers for His long life, and may the people of Tibet be soon reunited in a free Tibet.
B. Tsering Yeshi