TYC Calls off Hunger Strike on Receiving UN Assurance
New York, 3 May: The Tibetan Youth Congress called off its indefinite hunger strike, following assurance by UN Assistant Secretary-General Carolyn McAskie that the relevant UN organs would follow up on the concerns of the hunger strikers.
McAskie visited the hunger strikers at 4:15pm and offered them juice to mark the end of their 32-day fast.
She said the United Nations had heard the message conveyed by the hunger strikers and that they have succeeded in bringing their appeal to the UN, a press statement released by the Youth Congress said.
“She said the concerns are being given the highest level of attention by the UN and a broad range of UN human rights mechanism are taking up the cases that the hunger strikers had sought to highlight.”
She informed them that the UN Special Rapportuer on Torture, Theo van Boven, will undertake a mission to China in a months’ time, and that he has been asked to raise the case of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche with the Chinese authorities.
“The Assistant Secretary-General said the relevant UN mechanisms and offices will continue to follow-up as appropriate within their respective mandate,” Kalsang Phuntsok. President of the Tibetan Youth Congress, said.
Phuntsok said the Tibetan Youth Congress recognize the UN Assistant Secretary’s assurance as “a step forward in the United Nations giving consideration to the plight of the Tibetan people”.
The Youth Congress, he said, had organized the indefinite hunger strike to highlight the United Nations’ negligence of the issue of Tibet.
“Although the United Nations has not addressed all of our demands, the TYC nonetheless felt we needed to respect the appeals and messages being received from governments, parliamentarians, NGOs as well as individuals from throughout the world.”
Elsewhere, Dolma Choephel continues to receive medical care at Bellevue Hospital. Her condition is reported to be stable.
The end of the hunger strike was witnessed by Tibetans from Minnesota, who sat through the rainy day, praying for the Tibetan people back home in Tibet.
“It is so satisfying to leave with the knowledge that the lives of these dedicated young people are saved so that they may continue to work for our country for a long time to come,” said one Tibetan supporter from Minnesota as the group prepares for more than 20-hours of bus journey back home.
A report by OoT, New York