Geneva: A week before the UN Human Rights Council opens its 2017 session, with China starting a new three-year term, Human Rights Defender, escaped Activist and niece of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Nyima Lhamo addressed the 9th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy’s session on “the Fight For Freedom and Democracy.”
In the lead up to the Geneva Summit, Nyima Lhamo along with other guest speakers held a closed-door meeting with UN Diplomats at the office of permanent mission of Canada. Nyima Lhamo briefed the diplomats about the pressing human rights abuses facing Tibetans in Tibet and urged the diplomats to engage with China to ameliorate the deteriorating human rights situation inside Tibet. “No country is immune to pressure. International pressure and attention alone can make China accountable for its human rights violation in Tibet,” said Nyima Lhamo.
Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy is sponsored by a coalition of 25 human rights NGOs from around the world. This annual conference builds on the success and momentum of the previous gatherings, which have been widely acclaimed in the international human rights community.
Besides Nyima Lhamo representing Tibet, other guest speakers represent Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam and other countries.
Mr Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch said some of the most honorable “UN human rights heroes” are gathered to testify their personal struggles for human rights, democracy and freedom.
Nyima Lhamo moved the 300 plus audience including UN diplomats, human rights NGOs by narrating personal anecdotes of her life in Tibet and why she risked her own life and the safety of her aging mother and 6-year old daughter to speak about the story of her uncle Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan spiritual leader who died of torture, ill-health and under suspicious circumstances in a Chinese prison in Tibet.
Nyima Lhamo confessed that her uncle’s only crime was his faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama, his leadership in the community and his work as a social and environmental advocate.
She further said, “while incarcerated, my uncle would secretly send recorded messages advising us to stop harming all sentient beings including small insects like ants. He confessed saying the thought of harming others had never crossed his mind. He was a man of principles who put the welfare of Tibetans before himself.”
“While in prison, my uncle recounted his experience of torture in prison and told my mother that the prison authorities subjected him to severe torture and consequently made him subconscious. The prison authorities repeatedly beat him up and ridiculed his title as ‘spiritual leader’ and asked him to display his spiritual prowess by deflecting the beatings,” Nyima Lhamo reveled how her uncle was subjected to torture.
While recounting the events that led to her uncle’s arbitrary arrest on trumped up charges, detention, and mysterious death in prison, Nyima Lhamo said “I stand here today, with the hope that international community who stands for human rights, freedom and justice will ensure that what China did to my uncle will not happen to another innocent Tibetan or to any individual in this world.”
“Chinese authorities have done no justice in many cases including my uncle Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s case. He was denied fair trial, denied medical parole and finally he died under mysterious circumstances and even after his death, he was denied the opportunity to receive Buddhist rites and therefore we have enough reasons to believe that he was poisoned to death.”
Nyima Lhamo concluded with final words: “China expects that the case of my uncle will fade into oblivion. But I refuse to accept the injustices inflicted on us and therefore at the age of 26, I took the biggest and the boldest decision in my life–to leave Tibet and escape into exile to seek justice for my uncle.”
“Notwithstanding the formidable challenges that I may face, I am committed to call for international investigation into the case of my uncle.”
“I stand here today, with the hope that international community who stands for human rights, freedom and justice will thoroughly investigate and press China to come clean on the circumstances that led to the death of my uncle in prison.”
“No country including China is immune to international pressure. Therefore international pressure alone can make China accountable for its gross human rights violations in Tibet.”
“Finally, I truly believe that a peaceful solution for Tibet advances respect for international human rights and human dignity.”