CANBERRA: Representative Lhakpa Tshoko, Office of Tibet, Canberra appeared before the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Human Rights Sub-Committee to talk about the state of religious freedom in Tibet on Friday, 22 June at the Australian Parliament.
Representative Tshoko said that for Tibetans, “Our Buddhist faith is the core of our way of life and it is an integral part of our identity and culture”.
Last year he had put in a submission on the state of religious freedom in Tibet and he provided an update in his opening remarks to the Committee . He informed them about the recent order from the Chinese authorities restricting Tibetan families from observing Sakadawa, the holiest month of the Buddhist Calendar.
He asked the Australian Government to:
1. Make enquiries about the well-being and whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama and his parents to the Chinese government.
2. Send an independent delegation to Tibet to assess the situation on the ground and the extent of the demolition of Larung Gar Buddhist Institute and check on the monks and nuns who have been evicted.
3. Urge China to understand and address the underlying causes/ grievances of Tibetan self-immolators instead of heightening restrictions and criminalising self-immolators, their family members and friends.
Finally, he urged the Australian government to:
4. Send a strong message to the world, particularly to the people inside Tibet, that Australia stands for human rights, peace and non-violence. Please issue a public statement reaffirming the Australian Government’s stance on human rights around the world, including those of Tibetans inside Tibet.
The Sub-Committee was chaired by the Hon Kevin Andrews MP who was part of the Australian Parliamentary Delegation that visited Dharamsala in November 2017.
-Filed by Office of Tibet, Canberra-