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18 February 2013 002Dharamshala: Around 1000 people took part in a peace march aimed at highlighting the ongoing spate of self-immolations within Tibet and in exile on Monday, February 18.

The exiled Tibetans, joined by a number of international supporters, marched four and a half miles (seven kilometers) from the TCV Day School in McLeod Ganj to Kacheri in Lower Dharamshala chanting slogans calling for a free Tibet and the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and carrying banners displaying photographs of the 102 Tibetans who have set themselves alight in Tibet protesting Chinese rule in their country since February 2009.

The march was organized jointly by Tibetan NGO’s The Tibetan Youth Congress, Gu Chu Sum, the Tibetan Women’s Association, the National Democratic Party of Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet India, demanding  “immediate action by world leaders” to address the current crisis in Tibet.

In a joint statement, representatives of the five organisations said: “Ignoring condemnation from leaders across the world, the Chinese government has intensified the suppression of Tibetans inside Tibet.

18 February 2013 003“This has resulted in a surge of recent self-immolation protests, which have been met by Chinese security forces opening fire on peaceful demonstrators, killing several Tibetans and seriously injuring many more.

“We are now seeing a new level of repression in that the Chinese government is punishing not only the families of self-immolators, but their entire communities.

“We demand a co-ordinated international response by world leaders to act upon China’s repressive measures across Tibet, and for the Chinese government to reassess the draconian policies which have led to the immolations and protests in Tibet and to engage with community and religious leaders in an effort to improve the lives of ordinary Tibetans.

“We also demand that United Nations representatives and media groups be allowed to travel freely in Tibet to determine the impact of Chinese polices in Tibet and the level of individual freedom.”

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