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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Thank You Tibet! Campaign Statement by Nobel Peace Laureates

October 29, 2009

Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)
October 28, 2009

Statement by Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi,
Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Jody Williams on the
occasion of 50 Years in Exile: A Celebration of

Tibetan Culture - Thank You Tibet! Campaign Launch

Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India - October 28, 2009

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the people of
Tibet affirm critical values that the world is in
danger of losing. They are a model for all of us:
despite the attack on their people and the
displacement of their culture they preach and
practice compassion and respect for the dignity
of every person. Furthermore, by making a
peaceful transition from ancient traditions of
leadership by a small group of hereditary rulers
to government by democratically elected leaders,
Tibetans have set an admirable example. If a
community exiled from their homeland and
scattered across the world can come together and
grow into a democratic society that respects
human rights, every community can do so. The
Tibetans also demonstrate how common core human
values can and should transcend geography, ethnicity and culture.

The Tibetans made an extraordinary choice to
engage in peaceful nonviolent protest to the
destruction of their culture and the take over of
their homeland. By doing so, they followed in the
great Indian example of Mahatma Gandhi and served
as examples for the peace and democracy movements
in Northern Ireland and Iran. Nonviolence can
work, it must work and it does work and it does
work - it has brought about peaceful change from
India to the Czech Republic to South Africa.
Every time women and men who are treated unjustly
choose to respond with peaceful protest rather
than violence they invite those whom they protest
to respond with respect and compassion. There are
thousands of women and men in India, China,
Burma, Singapore, Malaysia and all the countries
of this region who are inviting their leaders to
listen to their protests and respond with respect
and compassion. It is a grave mistake for leaders
to ignore them, or to mistake their nonviolent
protest for weakness or surrender. Nonviolence is
powerful - it has overthrown governments and irrevokably changed societies.

Today, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the
Tibetan community in exile ask for the freedom to
practice and preserve their culture. Governments
of the region and of the world should press the
government of China to have constructive dialogue
with representatives of the Tibetan people. His
Holiness proposes the most basic and essential of
steps that do nothing more than demonstrate
respect and compassion for Tibetans: Tibet should
be a zone of peace, free of nuclear weapons,
where fundamental human rights and democratic
freedoms are honored and the natural environment
is restored and protected. There is no reason
that the governments of China and leaders all
over the world who support the Tibetans should
not work together to listen and respond to the
voice of the Tibetan people by engaging in
sincere negotiations on the future status of
Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people.

Close by, the people of Burma are asking their
government to hear their voice as well. While the
government has imposed an undemocratic so called
"roadmap to democracy" and set elections for next
year, governments of the region should support
civil society's calls for steps that will
indicate a commitment to true democracy. Burma's
regional neighbors should ask the government of
Burma to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all
political prisoners and engage in a process of
inclusive constitutional review with all stakeholders before holding elections.

Also in the region, just last week ASEAN
inaugurated their Intergovernmental Commission on
Human Rights. It is right and worthy of a
regional organization aspiring to bring peace and
prosperity to form such a body. However, the
treatment by governments of civil society at the
same summit was deplorable. A government must not
refuse to meet with civil society or prevent
civil society organizations from choosing their
own representatives. It completely undermines
their principle of civil society's critical voice in governance.

Asian nations have long focused on economic
growth and development. It is past time for these
nations to show leadership by responding to their
own citizen's calls for human rights and
democracy. It is also critical to support the
calls of the citizens of other nations. From
person to person, from citizen to government and
from nation to nation, there must always be a
positive response to nonviolence:engaging with
peaceful citizens is the only way to preserve peace and ensure human security.

For more information please visit the Nobel
Women's initiative at www.nobelwomensinitiative.org.
The Nobel Womens's initiative was establshed in
2006 by sister Nobel Peace laureates Jody
Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai,
Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Betty Williams and Mairead
Corrigan Maguire to strengthen and expand the
global movement to advance nonviolence, peace, justice and equality.

Contact: Rachel Vincent, Media and Communications
Manager, rvincent@nobelwomensinitiative.org
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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