"Europe stands with Tibet " – international rally at the UNO on the 59th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising day

Together with international Tibetan organisations and supporters, the Tibetan communities in Europe held an international rally in Geneva today to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the Tibetan people’s uprising on 10 March 1959 and to protest against the occupation of Tibet by China.

Under the motto "Europe stands with Tibet", thousands of participants from many different countries marched from the shores of Lake Geneva to the European headquarters of the UNO, waving flags and calling slogans. Afterwards, a large rally with various speeches and musical performances took place on the Place des Nations.

In their speeches, the representatives of TCSL, the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Society (GSTF) and the Tibetan exile parliament, as well as the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, pointed out that the human rights situation in Tibet had deteriorated significantly after the violent protests in 2008. The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was also represented by its Minister of Finance, Mr. Karma Yeshi, who warmly thanked all participants for their commitment to draw attention to the flagrant human rights violations in Tibet.

Since 2009, more than 150 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest against the occupation of Tibet. Most of them died as a result of self-immolation and their relatives are also subject to reprisals from the Chinese authorities. In view of China's systematic repression and violation of the universal fundamental rights of the Tibetan people, the NGO Freedom House in its report of 2017 classified Tibet as the world's most unfree region.

Local and international supporters of the Tibetan cause were also present, expressing their support for the Tibetan freedom struggle, such as the Mayor of Geneva, Rémy Pagani, who expressed his solidarity with the Tibetan people in a passionate speech. Kai Müller, Managing Director of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) in Germany, stressed the importance of international solidarity with Tibet, as these reflected global values such as human rights.

Other international speakers at the event were among others: Lisa Mazzone (Parliamentary Group Tibet, Switzerland), Norman Baker (President of the Tibet Society), Giulio Terzi di Sant' Agata (former Italian Foreign Minister), Thomas Mann (President of the Tibet Intergroup in the European Parliament), Molly Scot-Cato (Member of the EU Parliament, UK), Jacqueline Eustache-Brinio (Senator in France), Claudio Cardelli (President of the Associazione Italia/Tibet). The programme was rounded off by musical performances by the Irish singer Shirley Grimes and the Swiss-Tibetan artist Loten Namling, who performed a cover version of John Lennon's "Imagine" together with his daughter. The whole event went off peacefully and thus a strong signal was given for the non-violent resistance of the Tibetan people.

Due to the dramatic situation in Tibet, the organisers of "Europe stands with Tibet" called the international community and in particular the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for urgent action. Specifically, the UNHRC is to call on China to:

  • - resume dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama;
  • - end all repressive measures in Tibet;
  • - allow Tibetans to use the Tibetan language in schools;
  • - provide serious and verifiable information on Gedhun Choekyi Nyima's whereabouts and welfare – he was recognized by the Dalai Lama as the incarnation of the Panchen Lama and has disappeared without trace since 1995 with his family;
  • - allow UN human rights representatives and experts to visit Tibet.

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