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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Remembering Dermod Travis: Former CTC Executive Director passes away

June 03, 2020

Ottawa, June 3, 2020:  The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers are today mourning the loss of their former Executive Director and Tibet activist, Dermod Travis, who passed away this week in Victoria, British Columbia at age 59. [1] Dermod led the CTC from 2007-2012.

“We have lost a tireless human rights advocate for Tibet, a beloved colleague, and a comrade-in-arms.” said Sherap Therchin, current CTC Executive Director.  “Our deepest and sincere condolences go out to Dermod’s family and friends at this very sad time.”

"I worked alongside Dermod while he led the CTC” said Luisa Durante, now a member of the Board of Directors.  “He was humble, embodying a life of service to things that mattered to him. It was a pleasure to work alongside Dermod and I am grateful to have known him.” 

In a message sent today, Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, said “Many of us worked very closely with Dermod Travis during the years that he headed up the Canada Tibet Committee. He will be widely and deeply missed.”

Dermod is fondly remembered by the Tibetan community and its supporters across Canada.  With wit and insight, he built a relationship of trust with both government bureaucrats and parliamentarians leveraging those contacts to organize visits to Canada by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and by Tibetan officials.  As a communications specialist, Dermod was responsible for upgrading the CTC website, launching its social media platforms, creating a video outreach series, and designing numerous national campaigns to raise awareness of the Tibetan cause across Canada.

In the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Dermod was a driving force behind the Race for Rights initiative that featured a 7,700 km cross-Canada bike ride by Team Canada member David Kay to highlight prisoners of conscience.

In 2009, Dermod led the initiative to compile declassified federal government documents, including a 1950 legal opinion from the Department of External Affairs stating that Tibet qualified for recognition as an independent state at the time Chinese forces invaded the country. [2] 

In the years when Canadian mining companies were heavily invested in Tibet, Dermod exposed associated human rights violations and demanded corporate accountability and government sanctions.  Later, he launched a national campaign to highlight the role played by Canadian companies in construction of the Gormo-Lhasa railway. [3]

Dermod was most proud of the key role he played in securing the Tibet immigration program for displaced Tibetans in India.  He oversaw the multi-year negotiation with the Government of Canada concluding with an agreement that enabled 1000 Tibetans from Arunachal Pradesh to resettle in Canada from 2002-2017. [4]

After leaving the CTC in 2012 to head up a newly-created organization called Integrity BC, Dermod remained active in the Tibet movement as a valued donor and an advisor to the CTC.  He also continued his involvement with the immigration program by joining its implementing agency, Project Tibet Society. 

As we remember Dermod today, his often repeated message remains decidedly relevant:  “The only way ahead is when human rights and democratic values are at the core of our foreign policy.” [5] 

Thank you Dermod – you are remembered.


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 [1] Dermod Travis, B.C.'s 'selfless and persistent' political watchdog, dies in hospital, CBC June 1, 2020 canada/british-columbia/b-c- loses-selfless-and-persistent- political-watchdog-1.5594144

[2] Secret: Government of Canada correspondence about Tibet 1944-1969 Canada Tibet Committee, 2008 secret_canada_tibet_file.pdf

[3] For example, Bombardier contre le dalaï-lama, LaPresse, April 26, 2011, international/201104/26/01- 4393330-bombardier-contre-le- dalai-lama.php

[4] 1000 new Tibetans, Canada Tibet Committee 2012, canada/1000_new_tibetans

[5] Tibetan rights trump trade say Canadians, Canada Tibet Committee, September 2007, media_releases/80



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