Sixty action heroes pledge action to create a gender sensitive and a legally empowered Tibetan Community in exile
Dharamsala, August 7, 2014: The five-day ‘Training for Trainers’ program on ‘Legal Empowerment of Tibetan Women in Exile’ concluded today with sixty participants including eight men taking a ‘safe community pledge’ for action, empowerment and development.
“I will not look at her as women or him as men, but as human beings with human values with the basic right to live with dignity,” read one pledge by a 45-year-old female Tenzin Dolma.
“I will protest any individual who commits sexual harassment and violence against women.” Phuntsok Dorjee, 23, male, student activist.
During the course of the training program His Holiness the Dalai Lama blessed the organizers and the participants and expressed appreciation for such programs. His Holiness advised that it should bear the foresight to benefit all sentient beings. “This legal empowerment training program should continue and also use its potential to empower not only women and men but also the sentient beings on earth,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
His Holiness the Karmapa Rinpoche led a discussion on the topic ‘Gender Identities’ and shared his thoughts and concerns on the gender disparities that exist in Buddhist traditions and beliefs. Karmapa Rinpoche advised the participants to not allow these restraints to deter them but encouraged them to identify, communicate and network and build alliances with the other women groups and support each other’s endeavors and actions.
Honorable Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay held a lengthy discussion on the pressing issues of child molestation and gender-based violence that has unearthed in the recent times in the Tibetan community in exile. “We should have zero tolerance against such crimes and the perpetrators should be trialed under the court of law as criminals instead of being let free and forgiven,” said Dr. Sangay.
As the chief guest of the opening ceremony of the training program, Honorable speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, Mr. Penpa Tsering, said that these training programs on gender sensitization and taking legal recourse to tackle sexual harassment and violence should be given more to men who tend to be the perpetrators of such heinous crimes.