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24-October-2011-genevaGeneva, Switzerland: Over one thousand Tibetans gathered in front of the United Nations in Geneva on 23 October to express their solidarity with Tibetans who recently self-immolated in Ngaba and Tawo in eastern Tibet.

Mr Penpa Tsering, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, called on the UN to send a fact-finding mission to Kirti Monastery to investigate the situation there. He also called on the UN to immediately issue a statement expressing its concern on the situation inside Tibet.

Self-immolation is the highest form of non-violent action for the benefit of others, he said. Harmonious society cannot be achieved through repression. Harmonious society as promoted by the Chinese President Hu Jintao can be achieved only through mutual trust and dialogue, Mr Tsering said.

Five coffins draped in Tibetan national flag and the photos of the five deceased monks and nun who self-immolated since 16 March were placed on top of each coffin and carried through the rally.

The rally began from Lake Geneva to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Office and later assembled in front of the UN main office in Geneva.

Tibetans from different parts of Switzerland and Liechtenstein arrived in Geneva in 11 buses. Some travelled as long as 4 hours to Geneva. Large number of Tibetans travelled by the early morning trains or arrived in private transports.

The solidarity demonstration was held on the eve of United Nations Day in Geneva and was organised by the Tibetan community.

A Geneva based Swiss writer who travelled to Lhasa in 1999 addressed the rally. She told Tibetans "Never give up".

"I saw with my own eyes the most important movement - the strength of Tibetan resistance against Chinese occupation," she said. "We cannot accept what is happening in Tibet today."

The Tibetan Parliament in Exile's Speaker Mr Penpa Tsering arrived in Zurich on 20 October at the invitation of the Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association. On the evening of 21 October, Mr Tsering along with two other panelists spoke on the changes taking place in Tibetan democracy post His Holiness the Dalai Lama's devolution of his political authority in May 2011.

He said the Tibetan parliament and the Tibetan public must extend support to Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, who is now the political leader of the Tibetan people. He said Dr Sangay shall succeed and his success will be Tibet's success.

He gave a detail account of the changes leading up to and after His Holiness the Dalai Lama devolved his political authority to an elected Tibetan leadership to the members of the Tibetan community on 22 October evening in Zurich.

The speaker said great changes are taking place in the Tibetan society. He called on the Tibetans to remain united. We must resist what is not good for the society, he said adding, the Chinese want to divide our community as much as possible.

Mr Penpa Tsering will meet with UN officials on Monday to present an appeal.

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