March 12, 2006: Today, as we commemorate the 47th anniversary of theTibetan Women’s Uprising day, I would like to call upon my fellow sisters the world over to pay our deep homage to those brave women who lost their lives on this day in 1959 for the cause of Tibet. Let us also honor their memory with our pledge to carry on the struggle ever more resolutely with renewed strength and dedication.
The Re-founding of the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) on 10th September 1984, was a history in itself. Today we have 47 regional chapters with over 13,000 members outside of Tibet. Initially, the main objective of TWA was for the restoration of Tibet’s independence. However, the stand underwent change in March 1997, when members of TWA unanimously resolved to follow the wisdom and pragmatic efforts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama with his Middle Path Approach in resolving the issue of Tibet with the People’s Republic of China.
Thus, TWA not only welcomed the renewed contact with China in 2002, but also fully respected the need for maintaining conducive environment for a meaningful dialogue. Accordingly, TWA’s efforts to mobilize all possible support, both internationally and in India, our campaigns emphasized to bring pressure on Beijing for unconditional dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. For example, the All India Peace March organized by TWA last year was one such event to call on the Chinese leadership for direct talk with His Holiness the Dalai Lama without any further delay.
Although five rounds of talks have taken place between the special envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese side since renewal of contact, sadly, nothing substantive has come out as yet from the protracted talks. The continued lack of religious freedom and freedom of expression, rampant arbitrary imprisonment and the execution of influential religious leaders as well as the continued imprisonment of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Pachen Lama of Tibet, Tulku Tenzin Delek, Geshe Sonam Phuntsok, Lobsang Tenzin and numerous other political prisoners, all speak volumes for the serious Human Rights violations within Tibet. The recent incident of ‘Patriotic Re-education’ in Drepung Monastery, near Lhasa, led to the mysterious death of a monk in his room and removable of four monks from the monastery. Monks and Nuns were sentenced for a term of one to three years imprisonment for merely expressing their doubts over the legitimacy of holding Olympic 2008 in Beijing due to poor Human Rights record.
With the ongoing western development project and the railway line to Tibet nearing completion, all at the initiative of Beijing, Tibet and her people are driven ever closer to becoming endangered species on this earth. Faced with such serious threat, it hardly need any calling for Tibetans all over the world to be ever more resolutely united under the enlightened leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in complete solidarity with the ‘Middle Path’ approach. At the same time, we would like to call on the Chinese leadership to address our guniune legitimate concerns with due seriousness for a speedy and substantive progress at the negotiating table before patience run out. Just as we respect the need for observing conducive environment, we expect reciprocal response from China as well. We demand the PRC government to respect the resolution of United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that an independent body must be given access to Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet.
TWA as a major force in the exile community will continue with our ongoing efforts to create awareness about the plight of Tibetans, in general, and human rights violation issues faced in Tibet by Tibetan women, in particular, at the international forums. It will be our focused aim to mobilize all possible support internationally at every opportunity to pressurize Beijing for an unconditional dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for it is also in the interest of Beijing.
Last but not the least, while we express our gratitude for all your past help, we appeal to governments and Tibet support groups around the globe for your continued wholehearted support to the peace initiatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Tibet. He alone is truly both the hope and solution to the issue of Tibet.
With affirmation of our full faith in the supreme enlightened leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and prayers for His long life; may the people of Tibet be soon reunited in Tibet!