FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 23 May 2022
***Photos and videos from the protest are available here: http://bit.ly/SFTMedia123.
CALL ON MICHELLE BACHELET TO BREAK HER SILENCE ON TIBET!
NEW YORK, May 23rd—Yesterday, more than 50 Tibetans and human rights activists gathered in front of the United Nations to protest High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s visit to China. As the High Commissioner landed in China over the weekend, activists sent the message that failure to raise Tibet strongly during the visit would be completely unacceptable. Signs and banners specifically referred to her duty to protect Tibet’s children and investigate the more than 800,000 Tibetan children aged 6-18 in colonial boarding schools.
Activists organized a powerful political theater outside the United Nations. The action showed a Tibetan teacher teaching the Tibetan language to a group of school children. Then, in the middle of her lesson, she was suddenly taken away and replaced with a Chinese teacher. This powerful performance demonstrated the devastating reality of what is happening right now in Tibet.
Campaigns Director at Students for a Free Tibet, Pema Doma, said:
“It has been over two decades since a High Commissioner has visited Tibet; with 4 in every 5 Tibetan children in Tibet essentially being raised in Chinese government run colonial boarding schools, Tibet’s children cannot afford to wait. Another two decades would be devastating for millions of Tibetan children. This would mark a complete failure of the Office of the High Commissioner to sufficiently represent the values and mandates of its role within the international landscape. The Office of the High Commissioner has a responsibility to strongly raise Tibet during this upcoming visit.”
17-year-old Tibetan-American activist, Tenzin Lama, said:
“Right now, inside Tibet, children are being separated from their parents and sent to Chinese residential schools, some of which are hundreds of miles away from their homes. To be able to live as a family is not a privilege, it is an inherent human right; a human right that is recognized by the very United Nations we are standing in front of today! Yet the United Nations is silent. Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human rights, is silent on Tibet. The world is silent.”
The protest was organized by Students for a Free Tibet, Tibetan Community New York/New Jersey, Dhokham Chushi Gangdruk, and Regional Tibetan Youth Congress.