42nd International Day in Support of Victims of Torture Commemorated
Gu-Chu-Sum Movement Association of Tibet commemorated the 42nd International Day in Support of Victims of Torture at TCV Upper Dharamshala, with more than 130 students of the seventh standard in attendance, on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.
With a firm conviction and a desire to encourage the younger generation of Tibetans in exile to be more aware of the situations inside Tibet under Chinese occupation, the event started off at 10:30 in the morning with an introduction to the day by Mr Dawa Tashi, Vice-President and its importance in the light of the Tibetan struggle as an entirety.
After the brief introduction of 20 minutes about the day and its significance, Mr. Sonam Dorjee la, director of the handicraft section at the organisation read out the press statement of the day in Tibetan for the journalist and reporters present at the event. The students present at the commemoration were later handed out a piece of white fabric and are requested to put down their visualisation of Tibet through art and writings in a period of as part of the ‘Quilt of Dreams’ project that the organization has undertaken in the previous year. At the end of one hour’s period, the fabrics with student’s artworks were handed over to diligent artisans of the organisation’s handicraft section who took over to stitch all the fabrics together.
In the meantime, a short, half an hour documentary about the situation and the plight of Tibetans living both inside and outside was screened for the students and later followed by group discussion among the different sections of the class. Representatives from each section were encouraged to speak their thoughts on the Tibetan struggle and more importantly, the current situation inside Tibet.
The event was wrapped up with a thank you note by Mr. Dawa Tashi la.
following is a translation of the press statement in English:
For Immediate Release
Dharamshala, June 23, 2018
Observing International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
On this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we wish to express solidarity with everyone around the world who has been subjected to torture, brutality, and discrimination based on caste, creed, race and religion and everyone in this world who is still undergoing torture today. We sincerely hope that there will soon be a time of peace and freedom when they will all be able to lead new lives with dignity.
It has been 42 years since 1984, when the General Assembly of the United Nations declared June 26 as International Day in Support of Victims of Torture and notably there has been a meaningful improvement regarding the protection of the lives and freedom of victims of torture. Records on human rights have also improved significantly on a global scale. However, there are still millions of people who are still being subjected to inhuman treatment and torture. The prevalence of discrimination based on race, caste, gender, language, etc. can be seen clearly just from the news headlines every day.
Therefore, keeping a record of and working towards the development of human rights is something that we must do on a daily basis. Instances of brutality must be challenged immediately and in any capacity possible, otherwise, we risk turning this day into another day of a mere, routine observation. We pledge to take this day to think about how each individual can contribute in our own small ways to help rehabilitate the victims of torture around the world to live a life of freedom and dignity that everyone is entitled to.
Directly connected to this day are Tibetans inside Tibet who face extreme repression, both physical and psychological torture under the Chinese. The Chinese government always claims to advocate and implement equality of all nationalities but we have evidenced clearly through the last few decades that all their policies are aimed at eradicating all traces of the Tibetan people, its language, and culture. Furthermore, Chinese policy of ‘stability maintenance’ in Tibet has always been that of suppression and prevention of Tibetans from voicing out their discontent at the Chinese treatment of Tibetans. Chinese authorities have indefinitely extended an intensive surveillance program in villages and monasteries across the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) that was due to end in 2014. In identifying and stamping out any signs of potential unrest preemptively, Tibetans are subjected to arbitrary detention and torture while undergoing interrogation under the pretext to implement political terms like ‘preventive control of social stability’ as such
Tibetan political prisoners who have already been released from prison all face immense restrictions on their movement and freedom of speech along with the resulting mental and physical health issues from torture inflicted upon them while in detention and imprisonment. They are not allowed to travel outside the area they live in and have to report to the authorities every month, and are kept under strict surveillance to monitor everyone that they keep in contact with.
Being subjected to such horrible conditions of living goes against everything that the Tibetan spirit stands for, which is why Tibetans have been forced to resort to protest against the Communist Party and the Chinese State. Therefore, the Tibetan struggle for freedom from the brutality and torture under Chinese rule is not just a struggle for the Tibetan people but also symbolizes a broader, global movement for freedom and justice and the end to abuse of human rights. Each of us as individuals, organizations and as nations should work towards creating a world where there would be no more repression and brutality.
Consequently, the Gu-Chu-Sum Movement Association of Tibet today affirms its conviction to commemorate International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, and stand in solidarity with every Tibetan inside Tibet who is still a victim of torture. We take this day to create awareness among the exile community and the global community. Hence, a three-hour awareness programme that includes screening a short documentary film about the current situation inside Tibet, followed by interaction with the students this morning,
We remember the indomitable spirit of the Tibetans still living under Chinese oppression and pray that they all be freed from the brutal repression of the Chinese Communist Party.
Gu-Chu-Sum Movement Association of Tibet