On this joyous occasion of the 28th anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the Kashag, on behalf of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet pay obeisance and bow down in deepest reverence and express our highest form of gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the supreme saviour of all sentient beings, the master of all teachings of the Buddha, a great champion of peace in this world, the human manifestation of the Bodhisattva of compassion, the spiritual sovereign of the three realms of existence and the saviour and supreme leader of Tibet and the Tibetan people. We also extend our warm greetings to the Tibetan people, friends and well wishers around the world.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made a lifetime commitment to make today’s world a more peaceful place for its inhabitants. He continues to travel across the world, promoting the basic human values of love, compassion, altruism and justice and religious harmony, which he firmly believes are the inherent goodness that exists in all human beings. To encourage these inherent values to practically affect change in the society, His Holiness has always encouraged the common people and the youth to embrace these values. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has consistently worked towards making this world peaceful, devoid of war, famine and nuclear arsenals.
In today’s competitive world driven by technology and materialistic desire, modern knowledge has failed to provide true happiness to mankind. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is therefore committed to bringing true happiness by introducing a rational and peaceful approach to solving problems. For this he has time and again stressed to his global audience the importance of studying the ancient Indian wisdom based on the teachings of the Nalanda tradition. The major classical texts of Nalanda tradition on psychology and dialectics provide an important field of study for everyone, irrespective of differences in their faiths. This ancient tradition has been kept alive by Tibetans for thousands of years. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that he has committed the rest of his life to promoting this ancient Indian wisdom. He has therefore stressed and urged the revival of these ancient traditions in the home of their origin, India. The similar efforts made by the Centre and State Governments of India towards this end is commendable.
Even though the situation inside Tibet is critical, Tibetans under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama has never wavered from the principles of non-violence and has maintained a steadfast commitment to resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogue and through the mutually beneficial solution of the Middle Way Approach. These core tenets of such benevolent approach should similarly form the basis for international conflict resolutions and resolving issues of human rights violations and environmental crisis. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always advocated that universal responsibility exists not only between human beings but should also extend to the protection of the natural environment and the sentient beings inhabiting it. For His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s tireless promotion of human values, peace and compassion, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Today, he is one of the most admired leaders of the world and an icon of peace.
With His Holiness the Dalai Lama as one of its laureate, the stature of Nobel Peace Prize has further strengthened and the cause of Tibet has also gained widespread international awareness and support.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s meeting with his fellow Nobel laureate and former U.S President Barack Obama in India earlier this month brought much joy in all of us. This marks the sixth meeting: four times when Barack Obama was the U.S President. His Holiness have expressed happiness over the meeting of two old trusted friends and mentioned that time has come for Nobel laureates to promote the sense of oneness of seven billion human beings.
It gives us much delight to congratulate this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Their tireless work to completely ban and eliminate the creation and use of all nuclear arsenals are highly commendable. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has over the years strongly advocated for a nuclear free world.
Today is also observed world wide as World Human Rights Day and marks 69 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was issued. Sadly, the human rights situation in many countries including Tibet continues to be deplorable. We are taking this opportunity to remind the United Nations and the UN Human Rights Council and all other peace and justice-loving individuals and governments about the ongoing repression and oppression still rampant in today’s world.
The ever-increasing repression and lack of real human rights and religious freedom in Tibet does not need more deliberation. The UNHRC, the Foreign Relations Council, Freedom House and so on have clearly documented the ground reality in their annual reports.
In Tibet, mere expressions of their cultural rights and dissent against the government lead to arrest and detention devoid of proper trials. This is despite the fact that the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the National Regional Autonomy Law stipulates provision for religious freedom, protection of culture, language and environment.
The repressive policies of the Chinese government have caused 150 Tibetans to self-immolate. Of the 150, 128 have lost their lives and whereabouts and the condition of 22 remains unknown. The self-immolators have called for freedom for Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
This year alone, five Tibetans have self-immolated, four of whom are young Tibetans between the age group of 20 and 30 and a 63-year-old monk. The Chinese government, instead of addressing the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people have resorted to greater repression and in worst cases, the criminalization of self-immolation, causing the arrest of family members and the refusal to return the bodies of the self-immolators. The abject disregard for basic human rights is a travesty of justice and a violation of the basic principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Despite the worsening situation inside Tibet, the sprit and resilience of the Tibetan people have been rock solid, thanks to the support and solidarity from justice and freedom-loving people and governments around the world. In October this year, both the Senate and the House of the US Congress have unanimously passed a resolution supporting His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the issue of Tibet. The unanimous approval of a bill to dissolve the Mongolian Tibet Affairs Commission (MTAC) in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan is a welcome step. Similarly, the issue of Tibet has gained commendable support from the European Union and countries such as United States, Canada, Australia, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Last month five Canadian Senators led by Senator Patterson have launched an inquiry into the state of political prisoners of Tibet in the Canadian Senate chamber. They have highlighted five political prisoners of Tibet and the case of Panchen Lama. Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Chrystia Freeland, called on China to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief to visit Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Minister Freeland reiterated Canada’s commitment to continue to have open discussions with China on the issues of human rights and rule of law in Tibet, and to seek greater access to Tibet for Canadian diplomats and delegations.
At the United Nations, between February and August, in a span of six months, UN Special Procedures have made four urgent and joint communications to China regarding pressing human rights cases in Tibet.
The Chinese government’s efforts to assuage Tibetan people by bringing economic development have failed. Therefore it is in China’s interest to address the long-standing issue of Tibet by heeding the calls for dialogue and in seeing the wisdom and magnanimity of the mutually beneficial solution that the Middle Way Approach which seeks genuine autonomy and not independence. It is time the Chinese government enables the resumption of dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
As mentioned in the statement of the 58th commemoration of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan people across the globe will mark 2018 as Thank You Year. The year 2018 will mark the beginning of 60th anniversary since His Holiness the Dalai Lama and about 100,000 Tibetans first arrived in exile. From March 31st to April 4th, 2018, the Central Tibetan Administration will observe a series of ‘Thank You India’ events in Delhi to publicly express our gratitude to the people and government of India. Similarly, Tibetans living in other countries will also organise similar programs to express their gratitude to their host countries. These countries have been instrumental in keeping alive the Tibetan cause and by generously hosting the Tibetan communities they have supported in terms of education and livelihood.
On this most special occasion, we take the opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to the people and government of India for their continued hospitality and unflinching support for the Tibetan people. We also express our heartfelt thank you to all the friends of Tibet, freedom and justice loving people, governments, leaders, parliamentarians and organisations across the globe who have continued to champion the cause of Tibet.
Finally, for the benefit of all sentient beings and particularly on behalf of all Tibetans, we pray for the long life of His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. May all his wishes be fulfilled. We hope and pray that the non-violent cause of Tibet will prevail.
December 10, 2017
Note: This is a translation of the Tibetan statement. Should any discrepancies arise, please treat the Tibetan version as final and authoritative.