News

    Tibetans Demand UN Action on Human Rights

    Margaret Besheer

    Three Tibetan independence activists are nearly one month into a hunger strike outside of the United Nations in New York. They promise to continue their water-only fast until a fact-finding mission is sent to their homeland to assess the human rights situation there.  On Monday night, New York police and medics forcibly transported the oldest striker, Dorjee Gyalpo, to a local hospital out of concern for his deteriorating condition.  He remains in hospital but has refused food and is only accepting intravenous fluids.

    Hunger striker Dorjee Gyalpo says he is prepared to lay down his life to get international intervention for his homeland, where more than 20 people have set themselves on fire in the past year to demand independence from China and the return of Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

    Recently, two busloads of supporters from Dorjee’s Tibetan-American community in Minnesota came to show their solidarity with him and the other two hunger strikers.

    In addition to a U.N. fact-finding mission, the activists also want the release of political prisoners, foreign media access to Tibet, the end to China's policy of so-called patriotic re-education, and pressure on Beijing to lift what they say is undeclared martial law.

    "Those five appeals are reasonable. They are not something impossible for the U.N. to take a look at. So my father and two hunger strikers they are waiting for the U.N.  - not just their word, they are waiting for an action. It’s been 53 years," said Deden Gongmae, Dorjee’s daughter from San Francisco.

    U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky says that a senior human rights official met recently with the protesters and the number two diplomat at China’s U.N. Mission.

    “He said he would convey the group’s concerns to the relevant Special Rapporteur and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, in line with established procedure in handling human rights matters,” Nesirky said.  

    The spokesman added that the secretary-general supports the right of all people to peaceful protest, but he is very concerned about the health of the hunger strikers.

    Tsewang Rigzin is president of the Tibetan Youth Congress. He said the group is grateful for the U.N. official’s visit, but the indefinite hunger strike would continue.

    “Because in Tibet, unlike here, in Tibet, people do not have basic fundamental rights, they do not have the right to protest, they do not have the right to assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, what have you. So because of that, people are setting themselves on fire to make their case, to voice their opposition to the Chinese government,” Rigzin said.

    Earlier this month, the Chinese-appointed governor of Tibet, Padma Choling, criticized the self-immolations. “This is against humankind consciousness and moral principles, so I think that the self-immolations, their supporters, and the people that commit those acts should be punished severely by the law,” Padma said.

    Dorjee Gyalpo is physically weak, but his resolve is not.

    "China wants to wipe out the whole Tibetan nation and the Tibetan people. But they will never succeed. It is like a tree. China has been cutting branches, but they can never destroy the roots, so the Tibetan people will never give up," said Dorjee Gyalpo.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora