Today as we celebrate the 30th year of re-establishment of Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) in exile, we heartily honour and remember all the great women martyrs who led and took part in the greatest uprising on March 12, 1959 and bravely sacrificed their lives in the struggle. We share our solidarity with all our brothers and sisters who set themselves alive with fathomless courage and dream to free Tibetans from Chinese repression and make every Tibetan’s dream come true.
TWA is a historic association run by Tibetan women from all three provinces to struggle against Chinese oppression, take equal responsibility to preserve her unique culture and to maintain a high-quality of social and political activism. It was initially founded on March 12, 1959 when Tibetan women led an uprising to revolt against China’s brutal occupation of Tibet, killing almost a million Tibetans and destroyed thousands of monasteries.
On September 6, 1984, in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s address at the pre-advisory meeting on the selection of the 9th member of the Tibetan parliament, His Holiness spoke about the existence of Tibetan Women’s Organization before and also expressed the importance of having such organization in Tibetan community. Hence, the TWA was officially reinstated in exile on September 10, 1984. The association had a very humble beginning with 800 Tibetan women as members and 12 regional chapters across India.
Today, TWA is one of the oldest non-governmental organization and the only Tibetan women’s organization in exile. TWA encompasses 17,000 members in 56 regional chapters across four continents (Asia, America, Europe, and Australia).
With blessing of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and remembering the undying spirit of fellow Tibetan brothers and sisters, TWA puts its effort to bring up Tibetan issue on International platforms to spread awareness and get justice to our cause. At the same time, TWA focus remains on strengthening our exile community by supporting the education of women, organizing various training programs and workshops to empower Tibetan women in exile.
Since 2013, TWA has undertaken an important project called ‘The Legal Empowerment of Tibetan Women in Exile, India’. It is an educational program to make women and men aware of protection of women and children’s legal rights under Indian law. This project holds a mission to strengthen the social foundations of the Tibetan community in exile by creating a gender sensitive and an empowered and progressive society. Since August 2014, TWA has been carrying its second round of direct outreach program of Legal empowerment of Tibetan women in 18 settlements in India.
In the recent years, the Tibetan community in exile has come to know of the Chinese government’s massive environmental destruction and intense restriction on the practice of Tibetan religion and celebration of traditional Tibetan festivals in Tibet. On August 12, 2014, Chinese security forces opened fire on unarmed Tibetan protesters in Denma Shugpa Village in Lishu (Ch: Luoxu) Township in Sershul (Ch: Shiqu) County, Kardze, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. According to the sources, at least ten Tibetans were injured. The unarmed civilians were protesting for the detention of Wangdak, a 45-year-old village leader on the previous night. Wangdak has complained local Chinese government for banning the observance of the Denma Horse Festival. Wangdak argued that the celebration of the festival is a part of Tibetan culture and religious practice. He reasoned out that banning such festival is a violation of the religious freedom of Tibetans. Currently, the situation in Denma Shupa village is becoming more intense as the Chinese armed forces have surrounded the village and civilians above the age of 16 were arrested randomly. So far, five arrested civilians have died inside the prison as a result of severe torture and denial of medical care.
Recently, there is news on the Party Secretary of Tibet Autonomous Region Chen Quanguo’s urges to officials to push mixed marriages among Tibetan ethnics and Han Chinese. It is not Chen’s personal yearning to assimilate Tibetans in populous Han Chinese; it is a deliberate policy of the Communist Party of China that is actively promoting in Tibetan areas. TWA consider that this policy is a heinous strategy of Chinese government to genocide Tibetan ethnic and a measure to control Tibetan resistance.
TWA remains committed to advocate human rights for Tibetans inside Tibet and dedicated to empower Tibetan women in exile by initiating and leading beneficial projects and programs. TWA has clearly stated our projects, campaigns, activities and future plans at the XIth Working Committee Meeting held in July 2013 at Dhondenling Tibetan settlement in Kollegal.
On this 30th reinstatement anniversary of Tibetan Women’s Association in exile, we appeal for the following points:
- Middle Way Policy adopted by Central Tibetan Administration in exile is an approach to resolve the issue of Tibet, and to bring about stability and co-existence between the Tibetan and Chinese people based on equality and mutual benefit. Therefore, we strongly appeal International committees and Tibet support groups to urge and pressure China to restart the dialogue and forgo all the misconception it held against the policy.
- Tibetans inside Tibet are suffering under the Chinese hard line policies over the last 60 years; this callous policy aims to destroy the root of Tibetan ethnicity and we therefore request the International committee to send North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Tibet.
- Tibetans’ struggle has been the most peaceful resistance, yet China holds discriminative and ruthless policies against Tibetans and connects our struggle to that of terrorism and splitists. China has accused His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, the world’s renowned ambassador of peace and non-violence as splitist and exile Tibetans’ democratically elected political leader, Dr. Lobsang Sangay as a terrorist. China will solely be responsible for aftermath of such bigotry and injustice.
- The unbearable hard line policies and injustice have compelled many Tibetans to self-immolate. However, the Chinese government has never communicated to the Chinese people about the reality behind self-immolations; therefore it is high time for international community and people to unite and stand for Tibet.
- We urge United Nation’s Committee on Enforced Disappearance to pressure China to release His Holiness the XIth Panchen Lama, Tulku Tenzin Delek and all the political prisoners. We remain very much concerned about their health condition and wellbeing.
- We appeal for your support to pressure China for an immediate release of all the arrested civilians of Denma Shugpa Village in Kardze, including all the senior and junior leaders of the village.
To conclude, we pray for His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama’s long life and may all the Tibetans reunite in Tibet very soon.
Tibetan Women’s Association
Central Executive Committee
The Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) is the second largest Tibetan Non Governmental Organization (NGO) based in exile India and the only Women’s NGO in Tibetan history. We are today a 17,000-member organization with 56 chapters in four continents- Asia, US, Europe and Australia. TWA’s slogan is ‘Advocacy for Home, Action in Exile.’