Brussels, 29 June 2015 – Tomorrow, MEPs Thomas Mann (Germany, EPP) and Csaba Sógor (Romania, EPP), the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), the Office of Tibet in Brussels and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) will jointly hold a special event to mark the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama in the European Parliament.
A photo exhibition – Ways of Wisdom: Celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 80th Birthday – recalling the most important phases of the Dalai Lama’s life dedicated to the promotion of non-violence and celebrating his message of dialogue, reconciliation and inter-religious harmony, will be displayed in the European Parliament in Brussels from 30 June – 3 July. The opening ceremony will take place on the balcony area on the 3rd floor of the ASP building on 30 June from 18:00 – 20:00. It will then be moved to the building of the European Parliamentary Association in Strasbourg.
The event will mix politics, human rights and a rich cultural programme, including a Tibetan prayer, Tibetan dance and music performances. Besides the two co-hosts, MEPs Thomas Mann and Csaba Sógor, who will open the ceremony, the co-organizers – Mr. Tseten Samdup, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the EU and Western Europe, and Mr. Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet – will make introductory statements. Moreover, a key note speech will be delivered by the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Mr. Henri Malosse.
The sweeping crackdowns, arbitrary arrests and detentions as well as torture of demonstrators in prison have lead to the deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet. 140 Tibetans have self-immolated since February 2009. Such form of political protest is unprecedented in Tibetan history. It is the clearest illustration of the worsening of the situation in Tibet under Chinese occupation.
As this year marks the 40th anniversary of EU-China relations and the 17th EU-China Summit begins today in Brussels, the European Parliament demonstrates its continued support for the Tibetan cause.
Hosting this exhibition in the European Parliament is of high symbolic importance, as this institution has always been at the forefront of the battle for human rights worldwide as well as for Tibet specifically through the constant and committed work of its Tibet Interest Group.