Tibetan delegates and members of Australia Tibet Council on November 21, 2022. Photo: ATC

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Canberra — Tibetans in Australia launched the Tibet Lobby Day and met with members of Parliament. They urged legislators to pass a reciprocal access law and asked the Australian government to develop a policy to protect the succession of the 14th Dalai Lama without any interference from the Chinese government.

According to the Office of Tibet in Canberra, the 11th Tibet Lobby Day launched in Canberra by 15 young Tibetan delegates led by the Australian Tibet Council was held on November 21, 2022. They met with members of Parliament and urged the lawmakers to adopt a Reciprocal Access Legislation to impose restrictions similar to the ones China currently imposes on travel to Tibet and to allow key abusers of Tibetan human rights to be sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act. They also urged the Australian government to put forward a policy to protect the succession of the 14th Dalai Lama without any interference from the Chinese Government.

According to the information, the Tibetan delegation of 15 young Tibetans from across Australia met with nearly 30 Australian MPs and Senators from all parties. More than 1000 Australians signed a pledge “to only recognise a Dalai Lama appointed via Tibetan Buddhist traditions and practices, without interference by the Chinese Government”.

Senator Janet Rice addresses the Australian Senate (Upper House) on China's ongoing human rights violations in Tibet and the succession of the Dalai Lama, in the presence of Tibetan delegates including Representative Karma Singey, Tibetan MP Tenzin Phonstok Doring and other dignitaries.

Senator Rice highlighted concerns about the succession of the Dalai Lama and the disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet that were brought to her attention by the Tibetan delegation. “Today, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima would be over 30 years old. Tibet’s traditional practices, culture and Tibetan Buddhism, are under threat. Carrying or possessing a photo of the Dalai Lama brings harsh penalties, including imprisonment,” said Senator Rice in her testimony.

She expressed her party's and the Australian government's belief in the protection of human rights, while giving a firm assurance that she would speak out against human rights abuses anywhere in the world.

“We urge the Australian government to oppose any effort to interfere with the practices of Tibetan Buddhism and to only recognise the Dalai Lama, appointed by Tibetan Buddhist traditions and practices. I have lodged a motion to this effect on the Notice Paper today, which I will continue to raise in this place through every means possible,” she said.

Tibet Lobby Day is an annual event organised by the Australian Tibet Council in collaboration with Tibetan community groups. Tibetans and Tibet supporters gather in Canberra to meet with Australian parliamentarians and discuss various issues such as the human rights situation in Tibet and Tibet-related issues.