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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?"

CELEBRITIES AND POLITICIANS JOIN TIBETANS AND SUPPORTERS AROUND THE WORLD TO STAND UP FOR TIBET ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

December 14, 2011

Students for a Free Tibet - India  
Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Dharamshala   

Press Release  
For Immediate Release 

10 December 20113  

Contact: Tenzin Jigdal - 9736660451                
             Tsering Yangchen - 9857952150 

 Global solidarity actions in over 40 cities around the world are taking place as over 700,000 people around the world call for diplomatic efforts to Save Tibetan Lives.  

[Dharamshala] - Thousands of Tibetans and Tibet supporters in five continents are marking Human Rights Day by taking to the streets to Stand Up For Tibet [1] just one week after the thirteenth incident of self-immolation by a Tibetan in Tibet has taken place.    

On 1 December, Tenzin Phuntsok, a former monk in his forties, walked into the fields around Karma Monastery shouting slogans and scattering leaflets before lighting himself on fire. We received a confirmed report yesterday on his sad demise. Phuntsok became the twelfth Tibetan since March this year to self-immolate as a desperate (acts of protest the ongoing Chinese occupation of Tibet) plea for the world to Stand Up For Tibet. At least six have died including two nuns [2].   

Today, marking World Human Rights Day, Tibetans and Tibet supporters around the world are taking action in the Stand Up For Tibet campaign spreading awareness about Chinese brutality in Tibet and gathering support. Here in India young tibetans and Indian are taking the campaign to Indian cities like Delhi, Chennai, Pune, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Baroda. In Dharamsala, Students for a Free Tibet India and Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, are jointly working together to fuel the campaign.  "These desperate acts of self immolations are Tibet's cry for freedom." said Tsering Yangchen, Vice-President, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Dharamshala.

 "These cases of sacrifice by self-immolations are ultimate practice of nonviolence where they give up their lives so that thousands of others may live in peace. They are our heroes."  

The international campaign ENOUGH Global Intervention to Save Tibetan Lives has continued to gather strength in recent weeks. Rare and moving footage capturing the self immolation of Palden Choetso [3] (a 35 year old nun who self immolated and died on 3 November) and the response of local people in Tibet, who organised prayer gatherings and candlelight vigils, has galvanised international support. Already, over 700,000 people have supported online petitions and pledges calling for urgent diplomatic action [4]. Prominent personalities include Desmond Tutu, Radiohead and Paty Chapoy and a host of parliamentarians from around the world. 

“Governments around the world must listen to the call by over 700,000 people to immediately take bold, multi-lateral diplomatic action to press China to end the crackdown before more lives are lost,” said Tenzin Jigdal, Program Director, Students for a Free Tibet - India [5]."We urge the Indian Government to pressure China to bring an immediate end to the ongoing crackdown in Eastern Tibet.” 

China has occupied Tibet for over six decades and it remains one of the last cases of colonial oppression, constituting one of the longest-standing injustices one nation has perpetrated against another. Tibetans are now at breaking point, many feel the only choice is to sacrifice their own lives in a desperate plea for help.   

Notes:
 1. ENOUGH: Global Intervention to Save Tibetan Lives: http://standupfortibet.org/  
 2. There have been 13 self-immolations in total since February 2009. For more background information see http://standupfortibet.org/further-information/  
3. Rare footage of Tibetan Nun's Self-immolation Smuggled out of Tibet http://youtu.be/heRelfk_QW4 
4. See Avaaz https://secure.avaaz.org/en/save_tibetan_lives/ and Stand Up for Tibet http://standupfortibet.org/enough/dk-speakup-petition-1/  5. www.sftindia.org  -end-
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