Dharamshala: – "We should not only acknowledge but also commit to act on their behalf." These were the words of Australian Senator Lisa Singh on 10 December's International Human Rights Day as she pressed the global community to work for Tibetans living under Chinese rule.
In her statement on the 24th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Nobel Peace Prize, Sen Singh reminded her audience of the promises China made in 2009 to improve human rights within its borders. "Sadly, from all reports the overall human rights situation in China, particularly in Tibet and also against the Uygur people, has continued to deteriorate over the last four years."
She continued, "Repressive policies and the continuous suppression of fundamental human rights are causing immense suffering. Tibetans have peacefully struggled and held hope of obtaining freedom – freedom of religion, freedom to celebrate their culture and language, and freedom of expression."
Sen Singh's statement also cited "the desperation and repression of those in Tibet" that so many self-immolations demonstrate. If these acts in themselves were not enough of a shock, the MP from Tasmania also noted, "recent reports confirm friends and relatives of self-immolators are now being subject to sentencing by Chinese authorities for alleged association with the self-immolators."
She closed by praising the Dalai Lama's ongoing peaceful struggle and urging global governments – including Australia's – to recognize the injustices and move forward with meaningful action.
The Australian Labor Party senator has developed enduring ties with the Tibet issue. According to her website, "Lisa has always been a strong advocate for human rights throughout her career." She is involved in the Australia Tibet Council and – as a member of the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet – joined Australian Green Party MP Larissa Waters in visiting Dharamshala in July of 2012. During this trip, she pledged to support the peaceful Tibetan movement.