Dharamshala: - As International Human Rights Day was celebrated worldwide on December 10th, thousands of Tibetans and Tibet supporters took to the streets of Dharamshala, India to protest Chinese rule in Tibet, calling for the end of human rights abuses and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
As Tenzin Jigdal of Students for a Free Tibet explained, "This Human Rights Day we urge our governments to stand together, to work in partnership to build a multilateral response to this crisis in Tibet, that will increase pressure on China to address the Tibetan people's desire for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet."
Efforts to mobilize protestors in Dharamshala were made by several groups including: Tibetan Women's Association, Gu Chu Sum, the National Democratic Party of Tibet, the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (Dharamshala), the Regional Tibet Women's Association (Dharamshala), and Students for a Free Tibet (India).
Protestors hoped to raise awareness and gather support concerning the intensified crisis within Tibet. In the month of November alone, 28 Tibetans have self-immolated protesting the Chinese rule and pleading for the return of his Holiness the Dalai Lame to Tibet. Various leaders of movements to help the Tibet issue spoke, citing the need for help from the international community.
This march comes days after the Chinese government had announced that anyone found guilty of aiding or encouraging self-immolations would be charged with murder. As Chinese authorities have continued to crackdown in Tibet, the number of immolations continues to increase, as there have now been 95 self-immolations since 2009. Protests have also increased in recent weeks, as one thousand Tibetan students protested against the Chinese occupation of Tibet on November 26th and were met with brutal responses by the Chinese police.
As the European Union receives a Nobel Peace Price this year, Tibetan leaders have called on the EU to address the situation in Tibet in the coming year. His Holiness the Dalai Lama received a Nobel Peace Prize 23 years ago and efforts to help the situation in Tibet view the EU as key to helping ameliorate the issue through multi-lateral efforts.
The protestors continued their march throughout the town, continuing to call for support from the international community and His Holiness the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet.