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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

TWA's Statement on the 49th Commemoration of the National Tibetan Women's Uprising Day

March 14, 2008

Tibetan Women's Association
12 March 2008

Today, on the 49th anniversary of the National Tibetan Women's
Uprising day, TWA calls upon our fellow sisters around the world to
pay our deep homage to those brave Tibetan women who created history
on March 12th, 1959 by staging the first ever mass protest of women in
Lhasa against the illegal occupation of Tibet by Communist China. Let
us honor their memory with our pledge to carry on the struggle for
freedom ever more resolutely with renewed strength and dedication at
this crucial time in our history.

The main objective for the re-establishment of the Tibetan Women's
Association (TWA) in exile on September 10th, 1984 was to continue the
pledge taken by those brave sisters to achieve freedom in Tibet and to
keep alive the memory of their sacrifices. Today, TWA plays a major
role in our exile community, as well as internationally, by empowering
Tibetan women in exile, creating awareness about the plight of Tibet
and human rights issues facing women in Tibet.

Since 2002, six rounds of talk between the envoys of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership have taken place without any
foreseeable developments in Tibet. Amidst such paradigm, the Chinese
government in its paranoia, clamped down hard on the fundamental human
rights of the Tibetan people in Tibet. Furthermore, in July 2007,
China's State Administration of Religious Affairs issued a contentious
document entitled Order 5 containing 14 Articles which became
effective from September 1st, 2007. The Order 5 constitutes that the
Reincarnation of Lamas in Tibet will have to seek government approval
from the People's Republic of China. On August 1st, 2007, a week
before the one year count down for Beijing 2008 Olympics, China
arrested, convicted and sentenced Rongye Adrak to 8 years imprisonment
for merely expressing his wish for the return of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama to Tibet and for demanding freedom for Tibetans.
Consequently Adruk Lopoe, Kunkhen, and Jarib Lothog were sentenced for
10, 9 and 3 years respectively for "endangering national security".
These moves are clear indications of the continued gross violations of
human rights by the government of China.

After 49 years of occupation, Tibet today is still in shambles: the
people are silenced violently; there is no freedom of faith; the
developmental and economic plans introduced by the State do not
benefit the Tibetan people. The once serene and rich environment of
Tibet is now on the verge of annihilation; and the cultural,
linguistic and religious identity of a race is under threat. Today, at
this critical moment in history, we have a genuine opportunity to
utilize the global community's attention on the Beijing 2008 Olympics
to highlight the grave situation in Tibet. TWA calls on the Tibetans
all over the world to tread the right path with a united front for the
cause of Tibet. Under no circumstances can we allow ourselves to be
torn into divisive forces, to weaken our collective synergy. The
restoration of a free and peaceful Tibet as envisioned and outlined by
His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Middle Way approach will benefit
the whole of Asia politically and environmentally. In order to garner
proactive support for an actual meeting between His Holiness and the
Chinese leaders, TWA along with four other NGOs, is organizing a
"Return March to Tibet" in which Tibetans in exile are encouraged to
participate.

With affirmation of our full faith in the leadership of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama and prayers for His long life, may the people of Tibet
be soon reunited in a free and a peaceful Tibet.

The Tibetan Women's Association (TWA) has 49 regional chapters and
over 15, 000 members outside Tibet. Today, TWA is the second largest
Tibetan NGO and the only women's NGO in our exile that advocates human
rights for Tibetan women in Tibet and empowerment of Tibetan women in
exile, particularly the new refugee women from Tibet.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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