GENEVA: A special solidarity prayer vigil was held Tuesday morning (5 March) in front of the UN office in Geneva for the 107 Tibetans who have self-immolated and their families. The UN is currently holding its Human Rights Council’s 22nd session.
Kirti Rinpoche, who is on a three weeklong lobby visit to Europe, presided over the prayer vigil organised by the Tibetan community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. About 200 Tibetans gathered to express their solidarity with fellow Tibetan brothers and sisters in Tibet.
Rinpoche thanked all the Tibetans who had travelled from different part of Switzerland. He said that each Tibetan has a responsibility for the preservation of the Tibetan religion and culture, and to be the torchbearer of the Tibetan struggle based on non-violence.
“We must answer to the call for help from our fellow Tibetans in Tibet,” said Kirti Rinpoche. Our aim is for immediate results, but we must be prepared to continue our struggle for generations to come, he said.
“We are not against the Chinese people,” Rinpoche said. “We are against the Chinese government policies in Tibet.”
He reiterated that the Tibetan struggle is based on non-violence as advocated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The continued brutal repression in Tibet is not in the long-term interest of the Tibetan people and China. “We have had enough of China’s repression and oppression in Tibet,” he said.
Kirti Rinpoche concluded his address by reading a letter addressed to the UN General Secretary Mr Ban Ki Moon. He said that the UN must hold China accountable for its blatant atrocities being perpetrated against the Tibetans. He called on China to honour the pledges it had made to the UN especially towards religious freedom and human rights.
In the evening, Kirti Rinpoche attended Human Rights Watch’s side event at the UN on “The criminalization of human rights defenders in China”.