Dharamshala — 12th July, 2016 marked the first death anniversary of Venerable Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. A press conference was organized in Dharamshala to award the first 'Tenzin Delek Rinpoche Medal of Courage', a new international Tibetan human rights defenders award in his memory.
This prestige was given to a Tibetan, medical doctor in recognition of her courage and dedication to promoting Tibetan human rights and justice for the Tibetan people- Yeshe Choedon. She was given this glory in absentia as she is still confined by the Chinese authorities for her work.
Nyima Lhamo, Asia Coordinator of the International Tibet Network commented, "It is a huge honour for us to bestow Yeshe Choedon with this special award in Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's memory, and dedicated to all Tibetans in Tibet who continue to bravely resist China's rule."
Yeshe Choedon was sentenced to 15 years in prison on purported charges of espionage. The Chinese government has not responded to the frequent questions raised on Yeshe Choedon's case and has not imparted with any further information. A reliable Tibet Post International (TPI) source mentioned in April 2016 that she has been facing poor health. She has also not been able to see her children ever since.
"The 'Medal of Courage' is being awarded on the anniversary of the death of highly regarded Tibetan community leader and human rights defender, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who died in custody in a Chinese prison having spent over 13 years in prison on politicized charges" remarked Dorjee Tseten, Asia Director of Students for a Free Tibet. "Yeshe Choedon, this year's recipient, represents the thousands of Tibetans in or from Tibet working non-violently to promote and protect the human rights of the Tibetan people."
Dolma Yangchen President of Tibetan Women's Association said, "By honoring Yeshe Choedon we pay tribute to her courage and the courage of thousands of other Tibetans in or from Tibet who have spent years of their lives unfairly imprisoned or detained for the important role they have played in the struggle for Tibetan freedom."
This announcement was accompanied by the launching of 'Tibetan Heroes Day', an annual event held to commemorate and celebrate the courage of the Tibetan people to encourage them to continue to stand up for Freedom in Tibet.