Dharamshala: President of Central Tibetan Administration, Speaker of Parliament and a host of esteemed guests opened the daylong celebration of the 29th anniversary of the awarding of Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, paying rich tributes to the apostle of peace with speakers describing his message of non-violence as more-than-ever relevant in today’s world.
Organised by the Central Tibetan Administration, the event was attended by a rapturous crowd of young and old, men and women, Tibetans, locals and tourists.
Distinguished speakers including Chief guest Shri Pradeep Tamta, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Special guest Andrea Papus Ngombet Malewa, President, Global Coordinator Collective Sassoufit Congolese Human Rights Group, Shri Ajay Singh Mangotia, President of Indo Tibetan Friendship Association called on the world to be inspired by and emulate the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on achieving global peace, genuine happiness and a healthy global environment.
“In today’s world marred by violence, religious conflicts and strife, His Holiness the Great the Dalai Lama’s message of peace and non-violence holds the key to solving the critical global issues,” said the Chief guest Shri Pradeep Tamta, MP, Rajya Sabha, in his address today.
“We must heed the advice of this great guru as we continue in our struggle to advance peace and happiness in the world. Nonviolence, as advocated and practised by His Holiness, is the only way forward.”
He observed that Tibetan Buddhism is very much in harmony with the Gandhian principle of nonviolence.
“Both Dalai Lama and Gandhi have taught us that nonviolence does not mean the mere absence of violence. The complete expression of nonviolence is compassion. I have never heard His Holiness saying ill-words about China in all these years of his peaceful campaign.”
Marking the 29th year of awarding of Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness, President Dr Lobsang Sangay recalled the statement His Holiness delivered on this day in 1989.
‘No matter what part of the world we come from, we are all basically the same human beings. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering. We have the same basic human needs and concerns. All of us human beings want freedom and the right to determine our own destiny as individuals and as peoples.’
The President agreed with Shri Tamta in saying that His Holiness’ message of peace and non-violence has never been more relevant.
“His Holiness’ simple, yet powerful words resonate loudly in today’s political discourse and in the beliefs of many people. From ordinary people to the world’s most influential leaders, His Holiness’ teachings are practised as a way of life and a way to achieve peace and harmony among all human beings,” Dr Sangay said.
“Today is also observed as the Human Rights Day, and this year the world is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Article 1 of the UDHR declares, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
However, he said, “the fundamental principles enshrined in this milestone document in international human rights are trampled upon in Tibet under the occupation of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime.”
“Recently, the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region’s (TAR) Public Security Bureau issued a circular called “Reporting Leads on Crimes and Violation by Underworld Forces.” The circular lists 22 activities deemed illegal by the PRC, such as the protection of native language, the environment and dissemination of information on the CTA’s Middle Way Approach. Tibetans are required to report to Chinese authorities if these “illegal” activities are being carried out by other Tibetans. The circular is now also being implemented in Tibetan prefectures outside of the so-called TAR.”
He further drew emphasis on the worsening human rights situations inside Tibet and the environmental consequences of unchecked mining and construction in the Tibetan region.
“China’s booming mining industry is also damaging Tibet’s fragile ecology and threatening Tibetans’ traditional way of life. The excessive mining and dam constructions have increased landslides and flooding in various regions like the Drichu River in Jomda and Palyul in Chamdo. Thousands of local Tibetans have had to face evacuation.”
“The dire conditions in Tibet led to a 23-year-old young man named Dopo from Ngaba to set himself ablaze just last month. Each of the self-immolators has called for an end to Chinese’s illegal occupation of Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
He urged China to accept His Holiness’ Middle Way Approach under which Tibetans seek a genuine autonomy within the framework of the Chinese Constitution.
“This is a win-win proposition in resolving the issue of Tibet. Until the Chinese government respects the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people, China will not gain respect from the international community.”
The President was also encouraged by the strong support expressed by several powerful countries at China’s third Cycle of Universal Period Review at the UN Human Rights Council. “A total of 13 Member States questioned China on the worsening human rights situation in Tibet, in particular, the freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the arbitrary imprisonment of Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk.
“On a national level, in September 2018, the US Congress took a brave and unprecedented move by passing the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act—a bipartisan bill which will impose a visa ban on Chinese officials who deny Americans entry to Tibet. The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved the introduction of the Act. We trust that the US Senate will follow suit in putting an end to China’s unfair practices and abuse of diplomatic relations.
“Six million Tibetans and millions of non-Tibetans around the world look to His Holiness for guidance in leading a peaceful, happy life. It is not too late for the Chinese government to take the right path as well,” he said.
Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile also presented the statement of the Tibetan Parliament on the occasion.
“Today is an important day worthy of being rejoiced with celebrations for people across the world who value democracy, freedom, and peace. That is why we felt it pertinent to reiterate the historical event that took place 29 years ago.”
The speaker lauded His Holiness’ limitless contributions and tireless work in the promotion of universal human values, religious understanding, oneness of humanity, his visionary proposition for peaceful resolution of Tibetan issue and his consistent advocacy for conflict resolution based on mutual respect.
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama set up ‘The Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’ in New Delhi in November 1990 with the fund of Nobel Peace Prize award. Through this foundation His Holiness has sought to promote universal human values across the world; to strive to ensure that people across the world coexist in a state of nonviolence and peace; to work towards realizing mutual understanding and fraternity among the different religions of this world, the rights of women as well as the rights of everyone without any gender discrimination, and the protection of the natural environment; to carry out discussions and conference between science and Buddhism; and engaged in the promotion of Tibetan Buddhism and culture, especially the Nalanda tradition on which it is based. Through these and other means His Holiness remains in continued preoccupation with the issue of Tibet in its vast and numerous aspects.”
Special guest Andrea Papus Ngombet Malewa, President, Global Coordinator Collective Sassoufit Congolese Human Rights Group offered his sympathies and solidarity with the Tibetan people.
“Even in the darkest hour in your history, the moral strength you draw from your ancient culture has kept alive your hunger for peace. You, Tibetans more than anyone know that the oppressor is the real victim of the oppression. Chinese people too are victims of the totalitarian regime.
He described Chinese interference in Congo’s political and civil society. He spoke about Maoist insurgencies in Congo which are supported by the Chinese communist party.
“We Congolese are working tirelessly for a profound democratic change in Congo. We hope to become a free nation. Many people have stood up to fight brutal tyranny. Some of them have been shot dead.
He said, “We come here in Dharamshala not because we share a common enemy. But because we share a common hope; a hope for peace.”
Among other speakers were Ajay Singh Mangotia, President of Indo Tibet Friendship Association. Shri Ram Swaroop, Advisor ITFA also participated in the event.
The President of ITFA said an International Himalayan Festival is being held at Dharamshala in marking the 29th Nobel Peace Prize Day.
“With the blessings of His Holiness, our organisation has been collaborating very successfully with the local Tibetan community here. Over the years, we have accomplished in creating awareness through multiple events such as panel discussion, school competition. We have also collaborated on the Thank you India, Swacch Bharat Cleanliness drive.”
He also announced that The Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association with the help of Tibetan Settlement Dharamshala Office collected a contribution of Rs 7.8 Lacs (INR 7,83,504) towards Kerala Chief Minister’s disaster relief fund.