DHARAMSHALA, June 27: The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile is all set to launch a worldwide torch relay next week calling for the United Nation’s intervention in the deteriorating human rights situation inside Tibet.
The Flame of Truth Relay will begin on July 6, the 77th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from Leh, Ladakh in north India and travel across hundreds of cities around the world.
The Tibetan parliament in a release Wednesday said that the Relay is being carried out in “solidarity with the courageous and selfless acts of our brave brothers and sisters inside Tibet and to make the world aware of their selfless acts and aspirations.”
The relay will conclude on December 10, World Human Rights Day, with the submission of appeal letters and signatures simultaneously to the UN Headquarters in New York City, UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and UN information office in New Delhi.
The Tibetan lawmakers said the Relay and signature campaign will urge the UN to discuss the issue of Tibet based on its earlier resolutions, to send an independent international fact-finding delegation to Tibet and to take special responsibility to ensure that the basic aspirations of the Tibetans inside Tibet are fulfilled.
“Over the last sixty years since the Communist China’s brutal occupation of Tibet, Beijing has never changed its hard-line policies on Tibet,” the Tibetan parliament said. “This has resulted in China exploiting not only Tibet’s rich natural resources but also to kill, torture, imprisons and harass the Tibetan people continuously.”
Referring to the ongoing wave of self-immolations inside Tibet, the exile parliament said that since 2008 Chinese security forces have cracked down hard on Tibetans, leading to the current situation.
“Consequently, the Tibetan people have been setting themselves on fire one after another to demand a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue, return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and to let the UN and the international community know about the Tibetan people’s aspirations and the sorrows hidden deep within their hearts,” the release said. “Tibet today is like hell on earth.”
The US State Department last week said that the self-immolations are not the work of outcasts or troublemakers as China contends, but rather the desperate acts of people inside Tibet.
"Clearly these self-immolations are not only desperate acts, but desperate acts born of the frustration,” US Undersecretary of State, Maria Otero said, rejecting Beijing’s assertion that the Dalai Lama and Tibetan exile groups are encouraging the fiery protests.
"The only way they can respond to the restrictions and repressions that are now becoming stronger and stronger is to take these acts of desperation,” Otero said.