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30august2012-002Dharamshala: In a joint press release on August 29, Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) India and the Tibetan Women's Association (TWA) pledged to intensify their actions demanding global diplomatic intervention to end China's failed policies in Tibet.

The statement was issued in the wake of the recent self-immolations in Tibet which brought the total to 51 cases since 2009.

Lobsang Kelsang (18), a monk from Kirti Monastery, and Damchoe (17) set themselves ablaze on the morning of August 27 in Ngaba region, eastern Tibet. Reports confirmed that both died soon after, due to their injuries.

"The Chinese government has driven more than 50 Tibetans to burn themselves in protest," said Executive Director of SFT India, Tenzin Dorjee. "Beijing has the power to change its policies, withdraw its troops, and end the self-immolations overnight, but instead it continues to exacerbate the Tibetan people's suffering and grievances."

TWA President Tashi Dolma urged world governments to apply multilateral pressure and take action against China to end the crackdown. "We remain deeply saddened that India has not spoken on this issue," she said. "Thus we request for concrete tangible support from the Indian government."

Since last year, 49 self-immolations have taken place, of which seven have occurred in August 2012 alone. At least 40 of these protestors have died. These tragic events mark the largest ever group of self-immolation protests for a single cause in history.

Yet these actions remain barely reported internationally and fail to enlist support to pressure China to take responsibility for its actions and ensure Tibetans their rights. The Chinese government deems these as 'terrorist acts' and refuses to examine their root causes.

In spite of government crackdowns on travel and communications, Ngaba region has seen significant protests in recent weeks, following the self-immolations of two Tibetans on August 13. On August 14, a mass demonstration took place in Rebkong, Amdo region, outside the police station to protest the unprovoked beating of four Tibetans by intoxicated police officers the previous day.

"We call on India to join like-minded governments to immediately establish strong, public, multilateral mechanisms to hold Beijing accountable for its atrocities in Tibet," said DorjeeTseten, President of SFT India.

SFT has launched a petition urging Shri S M Krishna, the Minister of External Affairs, to support a strong multilateral action for Tibet. The petition will be delivered to his office on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti (Gandhi's birthday - a public holiday in India).

Urgent response protests will also be held in other continents. During the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council and General Assembly meetings, SFT members will join a Global Day of Action on September 5 to urge foreign ministries to take joint action for Tibet.

SFT has put forth the following list of demands to the People's Republic Of China:

-      Immediately remove security personnel from Tibetan regions and from individual monasteries and suspend the implementation of religious and security police in Tibet.

-      Release all those detained in connection to the self-immolations and account for the whereabouts and well-being of all those who have self-immolated since February 2009.

-      Allow foreign diplomats and independent foreign media unfettered access to all Tibetan areas.

-      Address the Tibetan peoples' legitimate grievances and respond to their demands for freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

To sign the petition being delivered to India's Minister of External Affairs, in support of a strong multilateral action for Tibet, click here:

https://secure3.convio.net/sft/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=883

The petition will be sent on October 2 - Gandhi Jayanti.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com