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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora