60TH TIBETAN NATIONAL UPRISING DAY: EUROPE STANDS WITH TIBET
4th European Solidarity Rally For Tibet – 10 March 2019
11h00: Start of the march at Gare du Nord – 13h00: Gathering at Le Mont des Arts
Tibetans and their friends from across Europe will convene in Brussels on 10 March this year for a mass solidarity rally commemorating the Tibetan National Uprising Day of 1959. The event will be an opportunity to highlight the continuing plight of Tibetans in Tibet and to seek renewed support in Europe for the non-violent freedom struggle of the Tibetan people.
The 10 March anniversary is particularly significant this year, as it marks the 60th year in exile – almost a lifetime – for the Dalai Lama and the many Tibetans who fled their homeland after China’s brutal suppression of the uprising against its occupation.
“We are grateful to the European governments and people for having welcomed many of us in their countries, and for their staunch support for Tibet over the years” said the organizers, representing European citizens of Tibetan origin from across Europe. “Unfortunately, the situation in Tibet today remains critical, and we therefore urge the European Union to take a strong stand for its founding values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and take unprecedented measures to address this crisis.”
Sixty years after Tibetans first courageously rose up against its oppressive regime, China indeed continues to rule Tibet with an iron fist, and in a drive to stifle any new challenge to its rule, has even intensified its efforts to wipe out Tibetans rights, culture and identity. Tibetans today live in a quasi prison state, where all their movements are closely monitored and severely restricted. Growing interferences on the institutions and daily practice of Tibetan Buddhism has left freedom of religion virtually non-existent, and the Tibetan language -the bedrock of cultural and religious identity- is systematically undermined. Thousands of Tibetan nomads have been forced to slaughter their livestock and abandon their traditional way of life. And hundreds of artists, writers and human rights defenders have been arbitrarily detained or disappeared simply for voicing their concerns about Chinese ethnic or religious policies.
In recent years -and in particular since the unprecedented wave of protests that swiped across the Tibetan plateau in 2008 ahead of the Beijing Olympics- the Chinese government has stepped up its efforts to prevent the truth about its oppression in Tibet from being told. But the continuing wave of self-immolations in Tibet, with over 150 Tibetans having set themselves on fire since 2009, is clear evidence that Tibetans are still suffering from China’s abuses of their fundamental rights and freedoms. The most recent were two teenagers, Gendun Gyatso and Choekyi Gyatso, who self-immolated on 9 December 2018.
Despite the brutal crackdown they face, Tibetans in Tibet continue to risk their lives to claim their rights and their wish to see their exile spiritual leader the Dalai Lama return home. It is to express solidarity with them that Tibetans of Europe and their friends will gather in Brussels on 10 March. The event, which is co-organized by Tibetan Communities of Europe with the support of the International Campaign for Tibet and the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association, will begin with a peace march starting off from Gare du Nord at 11h00, and will culminate at Le Mont des Arts in Brussels city centre, where a mass rally will take place from 13h00. Throughout the afternoon, participants will be addressed by a wide range of guest speakers including representatives from the Central Tibetan Administration in Exile as well as members of the European and national parliaments.
Similar rallies were organised previously in three European cities -namely Brussels in 2013, Paris in 2015 and Geneva in 2018- making this the fourth edition of the European Solidarity Rally for Tibet.
Point of contact:
Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director, International Campaign for Tibet (Media coordinator)
Office: +32 (0)2 609 44 12 – Mobile: +32 (0)4 73 99 04 40