World Parliamentary Forum Gags Tibetans
Mumbai, 18 January: Tibetan participants at the Fourth World Social Forum
(WSF) will hold a silent vigil to protest against the exclusion of three members of
the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (Tibetan Parliament in Exile) from the World Parliamentary Forum, a parallel event to the WSF. Forum (WPF) begins today at the SRP grounds on the outskirts of Mumbai, a press release issued by the Tibetan delegation stated.
An email received by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile on 2 January from
Nilotpal Basu, Coordinator of the Preparatory Committee of Indian
Legislators for the WPF 2004, said that the WPF had to “conform to the
formal position of many participating countries” and was not able to accept
the participation of the Tibetan parliamentarians, the release further said.
Reacting to this exclusion of Tibetan parliamentarians by the forum organisers, Lobsang
Galak, the coordinator of the Tibetan Delegation to the Fourth World Social
Forum said, “We don’t understand how a parliamentary forum could exclude
parliamentarians at pressure from certain countries.”
“We urge all participants to raise their voice against this discrimination against our parliamentarians,” he added.
The Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (www.tibet.net/atpd/eng/) is the
highest legislative organ of the Tibetan refugee community. It was
instituted in 1960. The creation of this democratically-elected body was one
of the major changes that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has brought about in
his efforts to introduce a democratic system of administration. The Assembly
consists of 46 elected members. U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo, the three
traditional provinces of Tibet, elect ten members each while the four
schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Bon faith elect two members
each. Three deputies are elected by Tibetans in the west: two from Europe
and one from North America. In addition, three members with distinction in
the fields of art, science, literature and community service are nominated
directly by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Mr. Pema Jungney, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile will arrive
this morning to the WSF to speak at a panel discussion on Tibet, “Make Tibet
a Zone of Peace and Ahimsa (Non-violence)”.