UN, EU, Members of Parliaments and Governments, and NGOs for human rights: Send independent investigation teams to Tibet on the self-immolations
Since February, 2009 an extraordinary number of self-immolations, numbering 78 by November 21, 2012, with 64 deaths, have occurred in regions of Tibet ruled by China. (Detailed information is attached.)
Tibet is burning: day after day, another vital life goes up in flames – women and men, young and old, including monks, nuns and ordinary people.
Why have so many Tibetans sacrificed their lives so painfully and tragically? To us the answer is obvious: these desperate acts point to unrest and unbearable suffering in Tibet. The Chinese government has refused to listen and give them a voice, so Tibetans have cried out in anguish in the only way possible.
The incidents in Tibet are part of the history of repressed societies. We are reminded of the self-immolations of the South Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức in Saigon in 1963, the Chinese Buddhist monk Shi Liangqing in Famen Temple in 1966, and the victim of a violent demolition, Tang Fuzhen, in Chengdu in 2009.
These victims of self-immolation hurt mainly themselves and their families; but, despite that, the international community should not be insensitive and indifferent to the tragedy. Every precious life tragically lost points to cruel suffering that is impacting thousands of Tibetans, pushing them to conclude that they must sacrifice their lives to make a desperate statement. It’s a humanitarian disaster, like an earthquake or a war, not a sovereignty issue. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the international community to take responsibility: intervene to establish the truth about the situation and address the underlying problems.
We earnestly appeal to you to activate your conscience and take firm action to end this humanitarian disaster! Please use your political, governmental and international networks to bring about action as follows:
1. Make the crisis of self-immolations in Tibet an urgent international issue, to be addressed in all official exchanges between your country or organization and China;
2. Urge your organization, the government of your country, as well as international bodies, including the UN and EU, to send their teams of independent investigators to Tibet, especially to areas where Tibetans’ self-immolations have frequently occurred, to report on the true situation of Tibetan society and the real reasons for the self-immolations. Challenge the Chinese authorities to permit independent investigation teams to enter these areas, speak openly with Tibetans, and work freely without interference;
3. Urge the Chinese government to start negotiations with the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Dalai Lama as soon as possible, to discuss issues including religious freedom, the rights of using and preserving Tibetan language and culture, and the Dalai Lama’s unfettered return to Tibet. (According to news reports, these demands are shouted most often by Tibetans who have self-immolated.)
The Chinese government has asserted that “the Tibetan self-immolations are incited by the Tibetan government-in-exile”, but His Holiness the Dalai Lama has encouraged his followers to cherish life and cease these protests. The Tibetan government-in-exile has invited China to send officials to Dharamsala to investigate the allegations of interference. Hence,
4. We urge you to encourage the Chinese government to respond promptly and positively to this proposal.
We are sure you are aware that prompt, decisive action has the potential to alleviate the crisis and save lives. We thank you sincerely for reading, empathizing and taking action.
Attachment: Self-Immolations in Tibet
Source: http://www.savetibet.org/resource-center/maps-data-fact-sheets/self-immolation-fact-sheet or http://www.savetibet.org/print/3012
Chinese democracy movement (FDC)