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Statement of the Kashag on the 22nd Anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama

December 14, 2011

10 December 2011

Today, we have gathered here to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of
the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai
Lama in 1989. On this auspicious occasion, the Kashag extends warm
greetings to fellow Tibetans in and outside Tibet and all friends
of Tibet and supporters of human rights around the world.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in the name of scientist Alfred
Nobel to honor leaders who have made outstanding contribution to
“fraternity between nations, abolition or reduction of standing
armies and for the holding and promotion of peace.” His Holiness
the Dalai Lama was recognized by the Nobel committee for his
“consistent resistance to the use of violence in his people’s
struggle to regain their liberty.” This recognition enhanced, in an
unprecedented way, the international visibility of the issue of
Tibet and for this reason we remain eternally grateful to His
Holiness the Dalai Lama and re-affirm our steadfast commitment to
non-violence.

This year His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in his own words,
“voluntarily, happily and willingly” devolved all his political
powers to a democratically elected leader, thereby fundamentally
transforming the 369-year-old institution of the Dalai Lama. His
Holiness the Dalai Lama’s vision is of a secular democratic Tibetan
society, which can stand on its own feet, strengthening and
sustaining the movement. This magnanimous decision to separate
political and spiritual authority sends a strong message of true
leadership. This gesture of the great 14th Dalai Lama is all the
more respected around the world and has further strengthened his
place among the pantheon of world’s great leaders.

The Kashag fully supports the historic statement issued by His
Holiness the Dalai Lama on his reincarnation on 24th September
2011. The Kashag believes, in the eyes of Tibetan people and the
world, the Chinese government has no legitimacy, credibility and
authority with regard to reincarnation. Tibetans have absolute
faith and loyalty to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and we believe he
alone has the right and authority to determine his reincarnation,
which is reinforced by the resolutions adopted during 11th Bi-
annual Conference of Buddhist leaders in September 2011.

Today, as we also mark the 63rd Anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, it is unfortunate that conditions in
Tibet have significantly worsened in recent times. The Chinese
government continues to violate the most basic human rights of
Tibetans enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Due to the occupation of Tibet and the crackdown that ensued the
2008 peaceful protests, civil and political rights of Tibetan
people are repressed, not to mention economic marginalization,
social inequality, cultural assimilation and environmental
destruction. The human rights situation in Tibet has deteriorated
so significantly that Tibetans are resorting to desperate and
unprecedented acts. In 2011 alone, twelve Tibetans are known to
have committed self-immolation out of which seven have died.

Kalon Tripa in his first official visit to the USA and Europe
briefed prominent leaders and officials about the tragic situation
in Tibet. They were greatly disturbed and expressed deep concern
for the suffering of the Tibetan people and the urgent need to
resolve the Tibet issue through peaceful dialogue. Accordingly,
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that USA was “alarmed by
recent incidents in Tibet of young people lighting themselves on
fire in desperate acts of protest.”

During these visits, Kalon Tripa reiterated His Holiness the Dalai
Lama's unequivocal and long-standing position that as a Buddhist,
life is precious and thus, he has always discouraged drastic
actions inside and outside of Tibet, as he did during the peaceful
protests in 2008 and several unto-death hunger strikes in exile.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is also deeply concerned about these
tragic developments. Similarly, Kalon Tripa appealed Tibetans to
end their unto-death hunger strikes in May this year in India,
because we need to live and lead our movement. In the long-term
interest of the Tibetan cause, we urge Tibetans to focus on secular
and monastic education to provide the necessary human resources and
the capability to strengthen and sustain our movement.

As a gesture of mourning for the self-immolators and their
families, the Kashag organized a day-long prayer on Wednesday,
October 19, which was graced by the presence of His Holiness Dalai
Lama and other important lamas. The Kashag urges Tibetans
everywhere to recite mani or other prayers every Wednesday for the
long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the victims of human
rights violations in Tibet, including the self-immolators and their
families. On Wednesday, January 4, 2012, during the Kalachakra
teachings in Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment,
the Kashag will also organize a mass prayer so that the truth may
prevail in Tibet.

Human Rights Day is a time for people and governments to reflect
about the meaning, importance and need for basic rights. To the
government of China, we want to say that the only way to bring
about real peace and stability in Tibet is by respecting the
fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people. We call upon China
to release all political prisoners who are sentenced under various
pretexts without fair trial and to stop all repressive policies
currently being implemented across Tibetan areas, and to resolve
the Tibetan issue peacefully through dialogue.

We would like people and governments everywhere to recognize and
reward the long-standing and genuine commitment of Tibetans in
democracy and non-violence. Such expression of support will go a
long way in encouraging other movements and freedom struggles to
follow suit, thereby paving a path to a more democratic and
peaceful world for the 21st century.

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