Target: The Chinese Government
Goal: Urge the Chinese government to address the longstanding human rights issues in Tibet
Since 2009, 89 Tibetans have set themselves on fire, or self-immolated, in protest for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, Tibetan freedom, and independence from Chinese religious and cultural policy. Seventy-six of these self-burnings happened in 2012 alone. According to Asia director of Human Rights Watch, Brad Adams, self-immolation is an act of desperation to bring the world’s attention to plight of the Tibetan people. Adams believes with these current self-burning acts of protest, the Chinese government should take steps to avoid further repression and should respond to Tibet’s distress. But the government has aggressively moved against the Tibetan communities where self-immolation took place. Authorities have punished the families and communities of those involved and declared self-immolation as a criminal offense.
Chinese officials have said the protests are “ugly and evil acts” and the sole purpose of the protests is for the Dali group to create unrest and split a nation. Authorities of the Qinghai and Tibetan Autonomous Region have begun to issue collective punishments to deter self-immolation. Families, monks and monasteries that contributed or supported families of those who took part in self-immolation were cut from any public funding or benefits and on some occasions arrested.
According to Human Rights Watch, collective punishment is a violation of international human rights law by infringing on freedom of religion and belief. Human Rights Watch has been advocating for governments committed to promoting human rights to urge the Chinese government to address the deep-rooted issues in Tibet. By signing the petition below you will join your voice with nations committed to human rights and issue a collective statement to address the longstanding human rights violations in Tibet.
Dear Chinese Government,
Last year alone, 76 Tibetans performed self-immolation to protest for Tibetan freedom and cultural and religious independence. Human Rights Watch has stated that self-immolation is an act of desperation to address the plight of Tibetan people, but Chinese authorities have been ordered only to collectively punish the communities where the self-burnings occurred. Where officials should be taking steps to avoid further repression, the government has aggressively responded to the protests by attempting to further stifle Tibetan voices.
The protests of the Tibetan people are not attempts at extremist terrorism but rather longstanding suppressed voices trying to bring global attention to their plight. The role of government is to address the issues of these suppressed voices not infringe on their freedom of religious and belief. These protests are an opportunity for the Chinese government to act positively and address the distress of the Tibetan people. Human Rights Watch has called for nations supporting and promoting human rights to issue a collective statement to urge the Chinese government to address the longstanding human rights issues in Tibet. This letter is one of many voices in the collective statement urging the Chinese government to change the oppression of the Tibetan people and address the human rights violations occurring in Tibet.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: SFTHQ via Flickr