TWA Research and Media Officer in Finland

TWA completes week-long International Advocacy Campaign in Finland

TWA Research and Media Officer in FinlandDharamsala, October 12: TWA’s Research and Media Officer Dhardon Sharling visited Helsinki on the invitation of Finnish Human Rights NGO KIOS, and successfully completed a weeklong international advocacy campaign in Finland’s capital city from October 3 to 9.

KIOS, along with indigenous people’s rights organization Siemenpu, organization for disabled people Abilis and the support of Ministry of Foreign affairs, organized a two-day international seminar on ‘Minority and Indigenous people’s rights’ held in Helsinki on October 4 – 5 and attended by more than 100 participants from 11 different countries.

TWA’s representative was made the key facilitator for the topic ‘Women’s role in the promotion of the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples’ and spoke extensively on the role of Tibetan Women’s Association on the role of advocating for the rights of Tibetan women inside Tibet with special emphasis on their reproductive right and right to self-determination.

TWA’s officer also led an interactive workshop session on ‘How to overcome multiple discrimination’ and she gave an insight into the three forms of discrimination: multiple, compound and intersectional discrimination in the context of inequality facing women and asked the participants to provide solutions to overcoming these systematic forms of discrimination.

Whilst staying in Helsinki, Dhardon featured in the October 6 issue of leading Swedish National Newspaper HBL – Hufvudstadsbladet, where they mentioned that the ‘Dalai Lama’s transfer of power to the younger generation is heading in the right direction with younger Tibetans becoming strong voices for Tibet.’ In addition, the National News channel, YLE, aired a 2-minute short story (watch the video here) on the role of the Tibetan women in negotiating with China, and the broadcast was timed with the news of October 7 announcement of the three women winners of year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The lifestyle magazine VOI HYUIN will also publish a feature length story in December this year on the lives of Tibetan women in exile post a two-hour interview with Dhardon.

Two days of lobbying activity from October 6-7, included meeting with Ms. Heidi Hautala, the minister for International Development to the Finnish Government, Mr. Pekka Haavisto, member of Finnish parliament and Green Party 2012 presidential candidate, and Ms. Elisabeth Naucler, member of Finnish parliament and the only representative of Aland Island, the autonomous region in Finland. TWA’s representative raised the case of self immolation of young monks in Tibet and how the recent incident of five self-immolations in a time span of twelve days demonstrate the young Tibetans’ heights of desperation (who called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and for freedom inside Tibet) and illustrates how it is high time for the Chinese government to pursue the aspirations of the Tibetan people. A potent presentation on the plight of the displaced nomadic women inside Tibet was made and called for the Finnish Parliament to pressure the Chinese government to respect the right to self determination of Tibetan nomads. An urgent appeal was made to the Finnish representation at the European Parliament (EU) to follow up on the July 6, 2000 EU resolution urging the “governments of the Members States to consider the possibility of recognizing the Tibetan Government in Exile as the legitimate representative of the Tibetan people if, within three years, the authorities Beijing and the Tibetan Government in Exile have not signed an agreement on a new statute for Tibet through negotiations held under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.”

A two-day network-building program from October 8-9 included mini seminars with Human Rights NGOs such as the Ombudsman for Minorities, 1325 Network of Women for Conflict Resolution, Finnish League for Human Rights and Refugee Council.

TWA believes that advocacy at the international level including lobbying governments, engaging the media and building networks is one of the most effective ways to drawing international support, both Government and Civil bodies, in amplifying the Tibet voice and in resolving the long standing injustices facing Tibet – significantly in accomplishing the aspirations of the Tibetan martyrs and assuring justice to their sacrifices.

View photographs below or on Flickr.

Heidi Hautala, the minister for International Development to the Finnish Government

Students from Helsinki

Pekka Haavisto, the Green Party Presedential candidate for 2012 presidential elections

with Jaana Mirjam mustavuori_editor of a women's magazine VOI HYUIN

With english painter and writer jacabo

With Elizabeth Naucler Finnish Member of the parliament

With 1325 women's network for conflict resolution

Dhardon Sharling

Workshop on Overcoming Multiple Discrimination against Women

Faciltator on Minority and Indigenous rights

Interview with Finnish Newschannel

Interview with Finnish Newschannel

Conference audience

Office of ombudsmen for minorities

Office Finnish of Refugee Council

TWA’s slogan is ‘Advocacy for Home and Action in Exile.’

Press contact: Dhardon Sharling, Research and Media Officer, TWA

phone: 01892-221704/ 9418791189


twlp group 2006

Tibetan Women Leadership Program

twlp group 2006In 2005, TWA organized a successful Tibetan Women Leadership Program (TWLP) held in Bangalore. TWA decided to hold a second annual TWLP in 2006 due to the success of the 2005 program. Approximately twenty female students from Bangalore, Baroda, Delhi and Dharamsala joined the leadership program. The five-day workshop from Dec 9 to 13 was held at Delhi Youth Hostel. The leadership program commenced on a Saturday, and Yeshi Phuntsok Acharya, Member of Parliament, opened the program as the chief guest.

Many prominent speakers followed Acharya, and on the first day Kate Saunders, Director of Communications, International Campaign for Tibet, did a media outreach workshop. Students were divided into three groups and they were given a situation that they had to decide if they were for it or against it. After brainstorming and discussing for some time, journalists interviewed the spokesperson of the groups. This exercise taught participants how to prepare for an interview beforehand.

The next two days saw direction from two American resource persons; Stephanie Goodell and Michelle Lepore. They challenged everyone’s conventional understanding of what leadership means through different activities and discussions. A modern way of thought that explained leadership as taking initiatives and teamwork superceded the old definition. No leader can be productive without a team of workers bolstering and working hard under them. In Stephanie’s own words, “Leadership is the process of a group of people working toward a common goal.” The speakers firmly believed that leaders can be made and that we can be the leaders that we have been waiting for. Another activity, Wellness Wheel, detected how each participant spends her time on a usual day, and the wheel then confronted everyone with how well they take care of their physical, mental and spiritual health. Almost all the girls had areas of improvement in their wellness wheel and a discussion followed on how to make these improvements.

Youdon Aukatsang la, Member of Parliament, gave a morning session on The United Nations and Tibet. Though all participants had some knowledge of what the UN stands for and its basic principles, none were very familiar with how the UN functions and what role it has played so far in our freedom struggle. Many participants admired Youdon la as a role model of a female leader in the Tibetan community. She also stressed the importance of leadership, not only referring to the person with the highest post in a given organization, but everybody working in that organization can be leaders through taking self initiatives. A panel discussion on the Role of Tibetan Youth in the Movement followed in the afternoon and a heated dialogue took place under panel facilitators, B. Tsering la and Tsering Yangzom la.

Vijay Kranti, a photojournalist and an ardent Tibet supporter, shared with the participants the importance of communicating the Tibet issue with non-Tibetans, especially Indians. Through an exercise, he demonstrated how little Tibetans interact with Indians on a personal level despite living on their land. Kranti ji said the Tibet issue is not only Tibetan’s problem, but a quagmire for Indians too. Many Indians are unaware of the border issue and it is our duty to raise their awareness, stressed Kranti ji. On the last day, Penpa Tsering la, Member of Parliament, enlightened everyone on the concepts of The Middle Path Policy. Penpa la cleared away many doubts about the middle path policy and urged the participants to use their democratic rights as Tibetans in exile to either support the policy or not.

Gen. B. Tsering la introduced the participants to Tibetan Women’s Association and explained its origins and mission. After her talk, all the participants voluntarily opted to be a member of TWA. The final activity as a group was to use the UN by lodging an individual complaint against the violation of human rights in Tibet. Everyone wrote to four different committees of the UN focusing on rights of children, women, racial discrimination and human rights in Tibet. Participants left feeling proud of their effort in resolving human rights issues in Tibet.