Tom Lantos affirms his pledge to support human rights in Tibet
Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 3:15 p.m.
|Tom Lantos, member of the US House of Representatives|
Dharamshala: The United States’ Congressman and a long time supporter of Tibet, Mr Tom Lantos promised to work tirelessly to focus on our human rights goals, and ensured never to turn away from the people of Tibet, during the 22nd Annual Tibet Day held in San Francisco on 15 December.
The event was co-organised by the Tibetan Association of Northern California (TANC) and the Bay Area Friends of Tibet (BAFoT) as well as San Francisco Team Tibet (SFTT).
Mr Lantos said, while commemorating the International Human Rights Day, the world community affirms the universal human rights of every man, woman and child, adding that the annual celebration demonstrates that even in the darkest corners of the earth, there are those who are willing to shine a powerful light on human rights abuses.
He said,”2007 marks twenty years since His Holiness the Dalai Lama first publicly presented his Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet. He made this presentation in Washington, D.C., after graciously accepting my invitation to attend a meeting of the bipartisan Congressional Human Rights Caucus, which I co-founded in 1983 and continue to co-chair.
“As we approach these anniversaries, we must ask ourselves serious questions about China’s human rights record, and particularly their actions,” he said. “To carry out these policies, while also maximizing economic benefit to its central government, which prevents Tibetan religious and cultural expression and severely limits Tibetan educational and economic opportunities,” he added.
He said, the China-Tibet railroad backs pervasive Chinese military presence non-violent protest with immediate arrest, torture, and prison sentences for those civilians, monks and nuns who have dared to protest.
He further said, “Standing in stark contrast to these horrors is the record of peace and justice of my friend the Dalai Lama. His Holiness has tirelessly led efforts to care for tens of thousands of Tibetans who have risked their lives to escape occupied Tibet. Recently, His Holiness has encouraged more of these young people to return eventually to Tibet, to help Tibetans at home preserve their culture and their hope.”
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama has devoted great effort to sharing Tibetan culture with a global audience, and has encouraged other Tibetan teachers to do the same. The result is that during the past sixty years, interest and understanding of kindness and compassion as primary principles for human affairs and government, taught in Tibetan culture, have spread throughout the world,” he added
He said, His Holiness is unambiguous for his call on autonomy and aims only for cultural and religious autonomy, and not full independence. “These are basic rights of the Tibetan people, and I urge China to grant such autonomy without delay,” he added.
He lauded the constant support of the San Francisco Bay Area Tibet human rights community in bringing tremendous strides in addressing the crisis in Tibet.
He said, “Right now, today, we have a unique window of opportunity to pressure the Chinese government into reforming their reprehensible human rights record: the approach of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. It is of foremost importance to the Chinese to project a modern, enlightened image during its moment on the world stage, and we must demand real steps forward before, during and after this event. ”
–Additional reports from Phayul