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North Americans rally in New York, Urge UN to act on Tibet

December 17, 2012

DHARAMSHALA, December 10, 2012: Thousands of Tibetans and supporters held a peaceful rally in New York on Sunday and urged the UN for its intervention to find a lasting solution to the escalating problems in Tibet.

Amid light drizzle, Tibetans and supporters including many from Canada, dressed in traditional Tibetan dress, held peaceful rallies in front of the Chinese consulate and the UN headquarters. The day marked three momentous occasions – Human Rights Day, Global Solidarity Day for Tibet and the culmination of the Flame of Truth Relay.

Addressing the rally in front the Chinese consulate, members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in North America, Mr Tashi Namgyal and Mr Norbu Tsering, said the Chinese government’s repressive policies are driving an increasing number of Tibetans to take drastic step of setting themselves on fire.

Rejecting China’s allegations that the self-immolations are incited by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the parliamentarians said it is a common knowledge that the Chinese authorities resort to torture and detention to force Tibetans in Tibet to make such confessions.

Later, the two MPs leading a delegation of representatives of Tibetan associations and NGOs met with Ms Maarit Kohonen Sheriff, Deputy Head of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Right and Ms Ann Syuata, Human Rights Officer, at the UN headquarters.

The delegation submitted to the UN officials a petition of 357,000 signatures by government leaders, congressmen, parliamentarians and members of the international community calling for UN’s intervention to find a lasting solution to the issue of Tibet. The signatures were collected during the course of flame of truth relay’s travel across 90 countries which started this July.  

Applauding the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s strong statement urging the Chinese leadership to urgently address the grievances of the Tibetan people, the delegation called for continued persuasion from the United Nations.

“Ms Kohonen appreciated our visit to her office on the human rights day and promised that she will convey our message to the attention of the concerned people at the United Nations. She further reiterated that OHCHR is a neutral body and committed to uphold the value and express concern on human rights anywhere in the world without any discrimination,” Mr Tashi Namgyal told TibetNet.

Marking the Global Solidarity Day for Tibet in front of the UN headquarters Mr Lobsang Nyandak,  Representative for the Americas, Chinese democracy activist Yang Jianli, writer Chen Pokong  and former Tibetan political prisoner Ngawang Sangdrol addressed the gathering on the issue of Tibet.

In his message on the occasion, US Senator Joseph Lieberman said: “I am deeply saddened and concerned about the rise in self-immolations in Tibet, and agree that the root cause of these acts of despair can be found in the repressive policies of the Chinese government. For this reason, earlier this year, I joined my colleagues in the United States Senate to introduce a resolution mourning the deaths of Tibetans who have self-immolated and deploring the repressive policies targeting Tibetans. Our resolution also called on the Chinese government to release all persons who have been arbitrarily detained; to suspend implementation of religious control regulations; to cease the intimidation, harassment and detention of peaceful protesters, and to allow unrestricted access to journalists, foreign diplomats, and international organizations to Tibet. I am happy to report that our resolution unanimously passed the Senate.

“Today, I say to those in Tibet who are striving to secure their fundamental freedoms: the United States Congress has not and will not forget about you and your cause,” Senator Lieberman said.

New York City Council member and Connecticut State Senator, Mr Tony Boucher, also addressed the gathering to express his solidarity with the Tibetan people.

In addition to Tibetans living in New York and New Jersey, others from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ithaca, Vermont, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Washington State, California as well as from Quebec and Ontario in Canada, attended the rally.

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