New Delhi, 18-20 March 1994
- New Delhi Statement on Tibetan Freedom
- The New Delhi Action Plan for Tibet
- Address of Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, Chairman of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies
New Delhi Statement on Tibetan Freedom
Parliamentarians from 25 countries gathered together in the Indian Capital, New Delhi, from March 18 to 20, 1994 under the aegis of All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet to discuss the Tibetan issue. They expressed appreciation for the initiative of the All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet. They made the following statement to be known as the New Delhi Statement on Tibetan Freedom.
- Tibet was a separate, independent and sovereign nation prior to its invasion and subsequent occupation by the People’s Republic of China.
- The Chinese invasion in 1949 resulted in the destabilisation of traditional Tibetan society, the destruction of Tibet’s unique cultural heritage, amounting, in effect, to a form of cultural genocide, and denial of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Tibetan people. It reduced Tibet, in effect, to the status of a Chinese colony and an occupied country.
- Following a report of the International Commission of Jurist which described the grave violation of human rights of the Tibetan people, the United Nations, in a series of resolutions, particularly GA Resolution No. 1723 (XVI) of 1961, condemned such violations and called for the withdrawal of Chinese forces. However, the violations continued and the forces remained.
- Chinese policies in Tibet, through official incentives, have encouraged the statement there of 7.5 million ethnic Chinese designed to marginalise the six million Tibetan people, to destroy the traditional Tibetan landscape, and to threaten the Tibetan people’s distinct national, cultural and religious identity.
- The major areas of eastern Tibet and north-eastern Tibet have already become dominated by ethnic Chinese. The consequences of the massive influx of Chinese people is becoming clear in central Tibet. For example, out of the 12227 shops in Lhasa (excluding the Barkhor areas) only 300 are now owned by Tibetans.
- Reports by official parliamentary fact-finding delegations from Australia, Austria, the European Parliament and other parliamentarian delegations to Tibet, as well as by independent international human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International and Asia Watch, have confirmed the continued abuse of Tibetan human rights and the denial of fundamental freedoms by the Chinese authorities. This has occurred in contravention of the obligations imposed upon China by international law, including under the various international instruments: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These principles have been reaffirmed in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights held in June 1993.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile have, over the years, proposed constructive initiatives to solve the Tibetan problem peacefully.
- The determination of Tibetan people for a free Tibet continues to be strong although from 1949 to 1984 an estimated 1.2 million Tibetans have died as a result of Chinese occupation. Since the invasion, very many demonstrations have taken place in which thousands of Tibetans have been imprisoned. In 1993 alone, there have been over 39 known peaceful demonstrations in different parts of Tibet.
- The Permanent Tribunal of People’s session of Tibet in 1992, the International Lawyers’ Conference on Tibet in 1993, and the Conference of European Parliamentarians on Tibet in 1993 have each confirmed the right to self-determination of the Tibetan people enjoyed by them under international law.
- National Parliaments in a number of countries have passed resolutions expressing their concern at the plight of the Tibetan people. The European Parliament has also done so.
- The Congress of the United States of America passed a resolution on October 28, 1991 recognising that Tibet, consisting of the three traditional areas of Dhotoe (Kham), Dhomey (Amdo) and U-Tsang, is an occupied country.
- China’s destruction of the Tibetan environment through indiscriminate deforestation and mining is leading to ecological imbalance with potential consequences affecting nearly half of the world’s population.
The participants in the World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet, therefore, resolve that the convention:
- Condemn the continued violation of Tibetan people’s human rights by the People’s Republic of China, including the ill-treatment of nuns and enforced sterilisation of Tibetan women, and the efforts to destroy Tibet’s religious and cultural rights. While applauding the courage and determination of the Tibetan people, it calls for the immediate release of all Tibetan political prisoners.
- Express concern at the continued maintenance of Chinese nuclear installations in Tibet and reports of the conduct of the testing of nuclear weapons and the alleged dumping of nuclear wastes.
- Support non-violent efforts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile to solve the Tibetan problem, particularly the Dalai Lama’s campaign to make Tibet a zone of Ahimsa (Non-violence) through demilitarisation, protection of Tibet’s natural environment and the commencement of earnest negotiations between Tibetan and Chinese representatives on the future of Tibet.
- Urge the Chinese government to respond positively o the above initiatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile for negotiations without preconditions to solve the Tibetan problems.
- Urge the respective government to support the peaceful endeavours of His Holiness the Dalai Lama by establishing contacts with the Tibetan Government-in-Exile based in Dharamshala, India.
- Call on our respective Parliaments to send delegations to Tibet to study the human rights situation, religious freedom, status of women and prison conditions.
- Urge our respective governments, as well as international funding agencies, to see that development aid for projects in Tibet benefits the Tibetan people and does not encourage the settlement of Chinese civilians in the region and urge our respective government to respect the guidelines issued by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile regarding developmental assistance to Tibet.
- Urge our respective governments to extend moral and material support to the Tibetan people in their struggle to regain their freedom and the preservation of their heritage.
- Call for the formation of all party parliamentary groups on Tibet in the Parliaments which currently do not have such groups, as well as an international network of parliamentarians to co-ordinate activities on the Tibetan issue.
- Express concern at the grave risk of unconditional economic assistance to China which may lead to economic liberalisation which is not accompanied by increased political freedom and democratisation and urge the governments of our respective countries to impose conditions to their economic assistance to China.
- Urge the United Nations General Assembly to expand the mandate of the Special Committee on Decolonization to include Tibet in its mandate and to include a regular review of the situation in Tibet. Urge the UN Human Rights Sub-commission to send fact-finding teams to Tibet and to station permanent representation in Lhasa to monitor the ongoing situation in Tibet, and urge the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to extend all possible assistance to Tibetan refugees.
- Appreciate the active role of the United Nations in international conflict resolution, including in Namibia, Cambodia, etc. and urge the Secretary-General to initiate mediation between the Tibetan and Chinese authorities for a peaceful negotiated settlement of the Tibetan issue, and further urges the United Nations to grant observer status to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
- Support the proposal of the Permanent Tribunal of People’s calling for the setting up of an international monitoring authority to determine ways to restore Tibet’s ecological balance and to protect its biodiversity.
- Direct that a delegation comprising representatives of the participants in this convention a) Seek the agreement of the People’s Republic of China to visit China and Tibet, and b) meet the Secretary-General of the United Nations to take up the Tibetan issue and to further the resolution in this convention.
It is further resolved that the above resolution be forwarded to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, presiding officers of the two Houses of the Indian Parliament, all Parliaments whose members are participating in this Convention, as well as the Chairman of the Chinese National People’s Congress
New Delhi, March 20, 1994
The New Delhi Action Plan for Tibet
The Delhi Resolution
To the extent that the people of Tibet, are denied the right to self-determination which under international law guarantees them, they are denied their own democratically elected legislature, people elsewhere, who enjoy the priceless privilege of a democratically elected Parliament will not rest until this privilege is secured to the people of Tibet. The representatives of free people are required by a moral imperative to act for those who are denied freedom, such as the Tibetan people. The participants in the Delhi Convention of Parliamentarians, therefore, resolve to adopt the New Delhi Action Plan for Tibet.
The Ten Commandments of Delhi
The following ten suggestions for action by Parliamentarians in support of the Tibetan people were placed before the meeting of the World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet in New Delhi, India, 18-20 March 1994. The participants subsequently adopted a programme of Parliamentary action based upon these “Ten Commandments of Delhi” addressed to fellow Parliamentarians as follows:
- Proposed Resolutions to Parliament;
- Exert Pressure on Governments;
- Involve Sub-National & Local Governments;
- Organise Delegations to China and Tibet;
- Make Representations to the Chinese Embassy;
- Support Tibetans in Exile and their Supporters;
- Use Inter-Parliamentary Associations;
- Encourage Visits of the Dalai Lama;
- Target International Bodies: and
- Encourage Human Rights in China and at Home
- Propose and adopt resolutions in Parliament expressing concern about human rights abuses, population transfer and other problems in Tibet and calling upon the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to recognise the rights of the Tibetan people to self-determination and to that end to begin a dialogue with the representatives of the Tibetan people, including the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.Such resolutions have been adopted by a number of legislatures throughout the world, including the Congress of the United States of America and the Federal Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, Germany and the European Parliament.
- Exert pressure upon Governments to interest themselves in the affairs of Tibet and the right of its peopleGovernments are sometimes reluctant to take an active role in relation to Tibet because of pressure – political, economic and otherwise — exerted by the PRC. Individual MPs can exert pressure to stimulate action defensive of the rights of Tibet and its people. This can be done by questions in Parliament: by raising Tibetan issues in debates on topics which are relevant (e.g. protection of the environment; dumping of nuclear wastes, ethnic cleansing policies, human rights, self-determination, etc.) It can be done by raising issues relevant to Tibet in Parliamentary Committees — such as those on Foreign Affairs or Constitutional and Human Rights Affairs. Parliamentary facilities provide many opportunities to express public concern about Tibet and to embarrass recalcitrant Governments and bureaucrats into taking action. Even where suggestions fail (e.g. the action of the United States Congress in relation to Tibet vetoed by President Bush), they stimulate public debate, attract media coverage and sometimes lead, as a result to changed Government policy (as in the case of President Clinton’s policy on Most Favored Nation Status for PRC).
- Involves sub-national and local government bodies as well as the National Parliament in concerns about Tibet and its people.All of the Delegates in New Delhi were members of national legislatures. However, concern about Tibet in the countries represented is often one held by ordinary citizens. It is therefore appropriate that the level of government closest to ordinary citizens should become involved with the cause of Tibetan self-determination. This means in federal States, the sub-national legislatures in the states or provinces. In all states, local government may provide a good venue for meeting Tibetans in exile and seeking to respond to their concerns. Already in some legislatures at sub-national level, resolutions have been passed concerning Tibet. This was done in the Sates of New South Wales, Australia, for example.In India, it was pointed out that, counting State Assemblies, there were more than 5000 legislators. Those in National Parliaments concerned with Tibet should work in close cooperation with those in sub-national, regional, international (the European Parliament) and local government to spread the call for action and promote political and public debate.
- Organise Parliamentary delegations to visit China and Tibet to examine and report on the human rights, environmental and other situations there.Such delegations have already taken place. Delegation of Parliamentarian from Austria, Australia, the United States and European Parliament and other countries have visited China. They have visited Tibet and reported upon their findings. Such reports gain widespread publicity and reinforce the international pressure upon the PRC to respect the rights of the Tibetan people to self-determination and to stop population transfers, nuclear waste dumping and environmental damage in Tibet. In 1991 such Parliamentary delegation (from Australia) was permitted to visit Tibet. Perhaps as consequence of the critical content of its report, the second Australian human rights delegation in 1992 was denied entry to Tibet.It was reported to the convention that a delegation from the Swedish Parliament will shortly visit China and Tibet. It is clear that the PRC accepts Parliamentary delegations — at least it is often difficult for the PRC to refuse a request for such delegation to visit China. As in the PRC terminology Tibet is an Autonomous Region of China, it is difficult for the PRC to refuse entry to Tibet. Parliamentary delegations of this kind can be occasion for dialogue and the expression of popular concern to the PRC.
- Make representations — as a Parliamentary group concerned about Tibet or as an individual Parliamentarian — to the embassy of the People’s Republic of China.In many Parliaments of the world, special groups have been established on a multi-party basis, to voice concerns Parliamentarian on behalf of citizens about human rights and other abuses in Tibet and denial of the right to self-determination to the Tibetan people. Such groups — although not technically part of the legislature — provide ideal opportunities for concerned multi-partisan action to confront the PRC and its representatives with the unacceptability of the PRC’s action with respect to Tibet. Parliamentarians frequently meet representatives of the PRC at official receptions, conferences and other like occasions. Whilst observing diplomatic courtesy and appropriate protocol these occasions should be made an opportunity to voice the concerns of the Parliamentarians and their constituencies about human rights and other abuses in Tibet. The culture of the Chinese people is one which is extremely sensitive to such representations. Members of Parliaments should make sure to request the diplomatic representatives of China to convey the expression of popular concerns to the Government of the PRC in Beijing. Written representations should follow up such oral request in order to ensure that action is taken.
- Give support to Tibet groups in exile, Tibetan refugees and non-governmental organizations concerned about the Tibetan cause.Members of Parliament usually enjoy special privileges in relation to the use of the facilities of the parliamentary buildings. Within those privileges, they should extend invitations to Tibetan refugees, Tibetan support groups and non-governmental organizations concerned with human rights, environmental and nuclear issues to hold meetings, conference, receptions, etc. at Parliament. Such meetings will frequently attract media attention — particularly if Tibetan refugees in national dress attend, for they are uniquely photogenic — sending vivid photographs illustrating their exile and national suffering. The use of the media — particularly international media such as the BBC or CNN — is to be encouraged as this will also reach into China and Tibet, sending messages of warning and reason to China and hope to Tibet. Parliamentarians, who become accustomed to the surrounding of the Parliament House, often underestimate the deep feeling of honour and privilege which an invitation to the People’s House will involve — particularly for refugees in exile. The proper use of parliamentary facilities in this way, to encourage the downtrodden exiles and their supporters should be encouraged.
- Use the international parliamentary unions to promote concern about the plight of Tibet and the Tibetan peopleVirtually all Parliamentarians are ex-officio members of international Parliamentary associations — such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, etc. Such bodies do valuable work and publishes useful journals. However, they often avoid controversial issues.Parliamentarians concerned about Tibet — and the denial of parliamentary democracy to the Tibetan people — should place resolutions about the situations in Tibet on the agenda of such international bodies. Even if such resolutions do not at first command a majority, the proposal will stimulate a climate of concern and spread the message of Tibet to an important audience.
In addition to the formal resolutions of such bodies, informal consultations and discussions may result in the establishment of new parliamentary support groups on Tibet. These ten commandments and other materials and articles on Tibet should be discussed in such bodies. If possible, they should be published in the journals of inter-parliamentary organizations to disseminate their message.
- Promote and encouraged visits of His Holiness the Dalai LamaThe visits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to so many countries throughout the world has ensured that the issue of Tibet has not disappeared from the international agenda as the Government of the PRC would have hoped. As a great spiritual teacher, but also the recognized leader of the Tibetan people, His Holiness has a rare and unequalled gift of explaining the Tibetan cause to national leaders, parliamentarians and peoples. Such visits are typically opposed most bitterly by the PRC and its global representatives. However, experience teaches that His Holiness draws such large public crowds of supporters and admirers that local political leaders find meeting with him personally irresistible and politically essential. Photographs of the Dalai Lama with national leaders, beamed by way of the media around the world — including satellite to China — keeps the Tibetan cause before the conscience of the world community. Parliamentarians can play a key role in organizing such tours, arranging appropriate high level official engagements and media coverage. It is especially important to encourage and promote visits of His Holiness to countries in Africa, Asia and the Western Pacific. There, China’s pressure to prevent such visits will be the strongest. That is why a network of concerned Parliamentarians is most essential in such countries.
- Exert influence in such a way as to target the discussions of international bodies studying the human rights situations in China and Tibet.The recent defeat (March 1994) of the resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, designed to highlight international concerns about China’s record of human rights in China and Tibet, came about as a result of a combination of the delegates of democratic and undemocratic countries. A large number of Latin America and African States abstained on the motion. It is in Latin America and Africa that the most immediate efforts must be directed to try to ensure a favourable outcome to future consideration of this issue in the UN Human Rights Commission. It is therefore essential that Parliamentarians concerned about Tibet should seek to make special contact with colleagues and associates in Asia, Latin America and Africa to point to the lessons from their own histories of the struggle for independence and freedom to help establish parliamentary support groups in such countries — to provide literatures and to promote visits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
- Learn from the lessons of Tibet for the situation of human rights, environmental protection, minority rights and the rule of law in China in general and in your own country.It is essential that the struggle for Tibet should not be or be seen to be anti-Chinese movement, as such. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has insisted upon high respect for China and its peoples. In earlier proposals, he has also raised the possibility that the exercise of the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination could result in association with China which fell short of complete independence of Tibet. The right of self-determination often manifests itself in complete independence of a distinct people: so that they form their own separate nation state for international law purposes. This is one possible outcome of the genuine and free exercise by the Tibetan people of the right to self-determination which they assert and which international law undoubtedly guarantees to them. But it is not the only possible outcome. The longer the dialogue — as invited by the Dalai Lama — is denied or delayed, the more likely is it that the Tibetan people will insist upon complete independence. But that will be a matter for the Tibetan people. Self-determination cannot be denied to the Tibetan people by the Government of the PRC or the Chinese people. In due course, it will be accorded to them. The effort of the Parliamentarians in democratic countries should be directed to that end. But this does not mean that the struggle must be carried on with animosity to the Chinese Government, still less with the Chinese people. On the contrary, the struggle for Tibetan self-determination necessarily involves the self respect of the Chinese people and their relationship with a neighboring people of great dignity and inherent worth. By establishing that relationship upon the basis of international law and universal human rights, the Government of the PRC and the peoples of China will thereby be freed from the burden of being an oppressor and of derogating from the human rights of others. To the extend that one people derogates from the human rights of another, it diminishes the right of its own people and human rights in the world which is of universal concern. To uphold the derogations of the rights of the Tibetan people, the Government of the PRC is forced to maintain in place the machinery of colonial oppression and autocracy, to lock up dissidents, to kill student protestors peacefully expressing their views and maintain labour camps and other paraphernalia of oppression. By upholding the rights of the Tibetan people, parliamentarians are, in a very real sense, working for human rights of the Chinese people and of people everywhere. The universality of human rights must be upheld. There is no “Asian exception” as the representatives of the PRC asserted unsuccessfully to the Second World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in June 1993. One delegate in New Delhi drew a parallel with the autocratic regime which governed his country (Hungary) until very recently. Like that of China, it was derived from the undemocratic and anti-parliamentarian practices of Lenin and Stalin in the Soviet Union. Both in Hungary and Russia, and in other countries of the former Soviet Union, this kind of polity is now discredited. But it continues to influence the formal public law structures of China. In due course, China will also throw off such autocracy. The support of parliamentarians and others for the rights of the people of Tibet — and their future free relationship with China — should be seen in this wider historical context. Thus, the efforts for freedom in Tibet are efforts founded on respect for the Chinese people — and their basic human rights, not on hatred for the Chinese people. So has His Holiness the Dalai Lama always taught.The effort to promote the rights of the Tibetan people also necessarily focuses attention to derogations from human rights in every society. By studying the wrongs done to others we can perceive more clearly the wrongs done to people — particularly minorities — in our own societies. To that extend, Tibet is a microcosm of a wider challenge to the human rights and other basic freedom throughout the world which we all share.
March 20, 1994
Address of Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, Chairman of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile), to the First World Parliamentarians’ Convention at New Delhi on March 18, 1994
The Issue of Tibet
Mr. Chairman, Fellow Parliamentarians and Friends,
On behalf of the Tibetan people, the democratically-elected Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile) and on my own behalf, I would like to extend my heartiest greetings to fellow parliamentarians who have come from different parts of the world to express your solidarity with us.
What exactly is the Tibetan issue? What is it which we strive to resolve? Thirty-five years in exile, 1.2 million lives extinguished, temples of faith razed to dust and blown to winds, followers of peace and non-violence confronted with hatred and weapons, Tibetan people are looking around themselves for hands-strong and friendly; hearts- full of love and compassion and heads with wisdom, who can walk with us as co-sharers of human dignity at its best. We are not at war with our great neighbour, we bear no hatred nor nourish any ill feelings for our brothers and sisters across our eastern borders. Ours is not a mere Sino-Tibetan conflict or an ideological warfare. Our struggle for freedom is not an act of secession as is projected by the Chinese. Ours is also not a fight against Chinese people. We are against the illegal occupation of our territory and colonisation of our land. We are not interested in their territory, in their land. The ink is not dry as yet on the documents recording the correct facts of history. Let us not live by misconceptions when perceptions are transparently clear. Was the Indian freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and others against the territorial integrity of the British? Then why stamp our freedom movement as “anti-Chinese” and against their territorial integrity. Kindly share our perception of the unprecedented phenomena of human indignity forced on us in this later half of the 20th century when Man – the civilized man of our planet – is moving in cosmic hemisphere and is not tired of talking and appear to be believing in the lofty ideals of equality, liberty, justice, human rights, democratic functioning, etc. In actuality these are proving mere slogans devoid of any meaning whatsoever when put to test against mighty physical forces greedy of extending their boundaries, usurping the rights of the people and causing unaccountable misery and suffering.
The very identity of Tibetan people is on the verge of disappearance. Tibetans recognised through the annals of centuries of history as promoters and preservers of a unique culture and wealth of spiritual heritage are being reduced to an insignificant minority in their own land, handicapped of their rights to practice their religion and live their way of life. The calculated Chinese policy of ‘transfer of population’ is aimed at elimination of the Tibetan race and is being executed in a very rapid and planned manner. This onslaught, if not checked effectively and speedily, will wipe out a race and a culture from the face of this earth. Are we really aware of this danger?
Another issue, a grave one, concerns our environment. Wanton destruction of Tibet’s rich natural resources has already caused ecological imbalances which should be a cause of concern for people outside Tibet also.
A yet another dimension about which there is evidently greater awareness is that of violation of human rights in Tibet at the hands of the Chinese. Physical torture, mental suffering, discrimination and total abuse of human dignity is the lot of the Tibetans in their own land.
But above all, the recognition of the political identity and status of the Tibetan people is the main issue. Our right to self-determination must be restored. In order that we, the Tibetans, fulfil our universal responsibility towards the world community – we must be the masters of our own destiny.
Is it difficult to appreciate our non-violent approach for solution of our problems? If not, please do not take it as our weakness. There is no force greater than moral force. Is Vietnam’s case a forgotten chapter of history? The Tibetan people have the political will. We have also a very clear political vision. We have adopted true democratic principles in our polity. Even in exile we are implementing democratisation in the system of governance. Only our method is different because we are wedded to the values of truth, non-violence, love and compassion. If our method succeeds, it may be a trailblazer for solving international conflicts – human, racial, ideological, geographical and what not.
I would like to express our special gratitude to the Indian parliamentarians for organising this convention. India and Tibet have a unique relationship. Our two nations are not only neighbours, but we also have close religious, cultural and historical ties. India is not only the source of our spiritual heritage, but it has also shown us the non-violent path for our struggle.
The Tibetan issue is closely connected with India’s security interests. India cannot ignore her legitimate interest in a solution to the Tibetan problem. It is because of these reasons that the entire world is waiting for India to take a lead in support of the Tibetan people.
We Tibetans have always been supporting the normalisation of relations between India and China. This is for the good of the entire region. The Indian government however, should not look at the Tibetan issue as an obstacle to better Sino-Indian relations. Those who understand the Tibetan problem in its proper perspective in fact see a solution to the Tibetan problem as a positive factor in the process. Politics is a tricky business and sometimes, you become so overwhelmed by the seriousness of the short-term interest that you overlook the much more dangerous long-term consequences. I am sure the policy planners of India will not let the country fall in such a trap.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has taken a number of steps to lead the Tibetan community towards democracy. In 1960 a popularly-elected Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (then known as the Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies) was established with representatives directly elected by the Tibetan people. In 1963 a draft constitution for future Tibet was promulgated guaranteeing the Tibetan people a democratic government. In 1990, the move towards full democratisation was initiated through statutory empowerment of democratic institutions like legislative, executive and judiciary with all the required authority. Today, I am proud to say that Tibetans in exile, notwithstanding limitations of our diasporic life, are able to enjoy fruits of democracy. Our Government-in-Exile is an open one. All policy-decisions of the Tibetan community are taken up by the legislature – represented by the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies – which have to be acted upon by the executive.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has, ever since the establishment of direct contact with the Chinese leadership in 1979, been making sincere efforts to solve the Tibetan problem through negotiations. Comprehending the gravity of the Tibetan situation and the threat to the very survival of the Tibetan people on account of Chinese policy, His Holiness had come forward with reasonable and constructive initiatives. Unfortunately, all his attempts failed to evoke any positive response from the Chinese side. His Holiness has now admitted the futility of his efforts. In his public statement on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising on March 10, 1994, His Holiness has said, “I must now recognise that my approach has failed to produce any progress either for substantive negotiations or in contributing to the overall improvement of the situation in Tibet.” He has, therefore, laid his hopes on increased international pressures and has said that he is still committed to a peaceful settlement through meaningful negotiations. We are encouraged by the increasing international attention to the Tibetan problem, as represented by the growing number of parliamentary groups and Tibet support groups throughout the world.
In the light of continued Chinese intransigence to all our peaceful initiatives, the only effective alternative may be in the form of increased pressure by the international community. In this, our fellow parliamentarians need to play significant roles. With your continued support and with truth and justice on our side, we look forward to a just solution to our problem.
A dispassionate analysis of the Tibetan situation will drawn the truth that what is happening is symptomatic of uncivilised human behaviour at its worst. It is not an isolated case, rather a representative one – elsewhere in Europe too, human spirit is being strangulated by inhuman hands. Is criminalisation of social behaviour and hurling of indignities on human beings the two parameters of modern civilisation? Are the basic tenets of life mere slogans? I do not think that we will ever agree with this situation.
I, therefore, most earnestly appeal to you to extend your support for a cause which is just. You will not be hurting anyone in the process. Please come forward to restore the faith of people in the philosophy of universal brotherhood. Search for large consumer market for amassing wealth should not be allowed at the cost of human dignity to extinction of one race altogether. However, we are clear in our resolve. We will move forward – happily with your support, and regretfully without any support. But we shall continue our march with determination, dedication until we attain our goal.
I am beholden to you, fellow parliamentarians, and particularly those of you coming from abroad, in spite and despite many hazards and inconveniences, to express your solidarity with our cause and share with us our problems and prospects. You have lived the maxim: ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed.’ We have hardly anything to offer to you, yet you decided to stand by us in this hour of adversity and peril. This is a silver lining. Let this be seen and understood by others, too.
Our commitment is to build a just, humane, and prosperous society guided by the light of Eternal Dharma; to secure Tibet as a sanctuary of peace, spirituality, and environmental purity; and to ensure for ourselves and future generations the blessings of a constitutional democracy founded on the Rule of Law, and on the eternal ideals of freedom, equality, love, beauty, compassion, justice, non-violence, and truth. I hope it will not be long when we can return to a Tibet of our dream and when we can welcome you all to Lhasa, in peace and freedom.