Exile Women observe United Nations World Water Day

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Exile Women observe United Nations World Water Day

World Water DayDharamsala, 22nd March: Today on ‘United Nations World Water Day,’ Women’s Environment & Development Desk (WEDD) of Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) spearheaded a signature drive for the petition titled ‘Nomads for a Planetary Third Pole’ [1]at McLeod Ganj. WEDD received good response from people and gathered around 600 on-ground signatures in addition to online signatuers for the petition today.

WEDD also launched a ten-minute video titled ‘Expert Speak on Tibet’s Environment’ which can be viewed on TWA’s youtube channel; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rObIR2YFWA&list=UUv85TojsxxrNmbjAWse4S_A&index=1&feature=plcp. The video highlights the critical issue of Tibet’s Environment, covering pertinent topics such as climate change and glacier melt, Tibetan rivers, forced removal of nomads, and mining in Tibet. Experts discuss the failed Chinese Environmental policies, which are not only catastrophic for Tibet, but also for people of Southeast Asia.

WEDD believes that the right to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right granted under international law. According to findings, ‘there are approx. 1.3 billion people who are dependent on the health of the ten major rivers that originate from Tibet. These Tibetan water sources are being polluted through mining and highly restricted through damming, which results in unintended and often unpredicted flooding.’ In addition, ‘recent studies revealed that damming a river causes the water to evaporate, thereby reducing the quality and quantity of available water for those dependent on the source. Diminishing water levels are highly evident these days. Earlier this year, people of Pasighat town in East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh found that the water level of the Brahmaputra River receded so much that it had nearly dried.’

“The crisis of our diminishing water resources is just as severe as any war time crisis we have ever faced. Survival of 1.3 billion is at stake now because of drying up of Tibet’s waters and the unchecked damming and China’s plans to divert the Brahmaputra of Tibet’s River” said Dolkar Lhamo Kirti, President, TWA.

Women’s Environment & Development Desk will carry forward ‘Protect Tibet’s Water for Asia’s Survival’ campaign throughout this year and at International UN Climate conferences.

The mission of the Women’s Environment & Development Desk (WEDD) of TWA is to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change upon Tibet’s unique ecosystem and Tibetan women. The WEDD is committed to disseminating timely and useful information that highlights to the international community the critical issue of climate change in Tibet. WEDD continues to engage in proactive measures and sustainable developmental projects and campaigns to combat the destructive environmental policies that are denying the human rights of Tibetans living inside Tibet.

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[1] One petition is addressed to the Environment Ministries of the Downstream Nations, which includes China, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. All countries receive water from Tibet’s rivers: the Mekong, Yangtse, and Salween in the east, the Brahmaputra in the center, and the Kamali, Indus and Sutlej in the west. The second petition is addressed to the Environment Ministry of People’s Republic of China, and urges Chinese leadership to halt the forced eviction of nomads from the Tibetan plateau, thereby ensuring future food and water security for Asia.

Photos of today’s event can be viewed here.

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