Canada Tibet Committee, March 12, 2017 - Tibetan communities and their supporters across Canada turned out in large numbers to commemorate the 58th Tibetan National Uprising Day anniversary.
Tibetan prisoners of conscience were the focus effort of this year’s commemoration. In a joint letter to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, the heads of 8 Tibetan associations and Tibet groups requested that she intervene with Chinese authorities to highlight the cases of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima (Panchen Lama); Dr. Yeshe Choedron; Shokjang; and Tashi Wangchuk.
In the letter to Minister Freeland, the Tibet groups wrote, “We know from past experience that inquiries from foreign governments such as Canada can have a positive impact on the well-being of prisoners in Tibet. That is why we are appealing to you, on the occasion of the 58th Tibetan National Uprising, to use both bilateral exchanges with Chinese officials and joint action with like-minded governments to pursue the individual cases presented in this letter.”
In Ottawa, supporters from Toronto and Montreal joined the Ottawa Tibetan community on Parliament Hill where they were addressed by MP Pierre Nantel, a member of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (PFT) representing the New Democratic Party. Mr. Nantel reiterated the strong support for Tibet and for human rights within his party - a position that he said is shared by each of Canada’s political parties. Mr. Nantel encouraged those present to continue their efforts to raise awareness about Tibet in parliament, and to reach out in various constituencies across the country.
A written statement from MP Garnett Genuis, Conservative Party of Canada Vice-Chair of the PFT, was read by long time Tibet supporter Herb Davis. In his statement, Mr. Genuis said, “I regret that I’m unable to join you today, but I wanted to send you my best wishes as all of us together continue the struggle for the genuine autonomy of Tibet and justice for its people. I commend and am inspired by the persistence and hope of the Tibetan community and their supporters. This struggle will not stop. It will continue until justice is realized. I look forward to continuing to work with my Parliamentary colleagues and with you to advance justice and human rights in Tibet.”
PFT Chair Arif Virani, Liberal Party of Canada, also issued a written statement marking the March 10 commemoration. His statement read in part,“Today is the 58th anniversary of the March 10, 1959 Tibetan National Uprising Day. I stand in solidarity with the Tibetans in my riding of Parkdale-High Park and Tibetans across Canada. My thoughts are with Tibet today and with members of the Tibetan diaspora around the world who are on the streets marching today to remind us all about what is still happening in Tibet.”
In Calgary, the Tibetan community braved frigid temperatures of -24 degrees to hold a protest outside the Chinese consulate. The event was well-covered by local media. In Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto, both young and old, Tibetan and non-Tibetans gathered for marches and vigils remembering those who languish in China’s prisons because they spoke up for human rights in Tibet. #CanadaStandsWithTibet #DeboutPourLeTibet