Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Ten memorable moments from our year for Tibet

Wednesday, 09 December 2015
From the halls of power in Canberra, to the streets of our cities, to the United Nations, ATC's members and supporters have amplified the Tibetan people’s  call for freedom and justice over the past year.
 
Here are ten of the most memorable moments of our work for Tibet in 2015.  

1. On our fourth Tibet Advocacy Day in March, young Tibetans shared their personal stories of hope and courage with our political leaders in Canberra. Their stories fuelled our passion and encouraged the politicians to speak up for Tibet.

2. On the same day, Warren Enstch, a senior coalition MP and chair of the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, spoke in the Parliament and called for the release of Tibetan political prisoners Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Runggye Adak. Sadly Rinpoche died in Chinese custody in July (more on this below). But we were filled with joy on learning that Runggye Adak was released in July.
 
 3. When the Dalai Lama visited Australia in June, we saw it as a great opportunity to take our message about Tibet to the wider Australian community. Our volunteers set up information booths and and built support for Tibet by signing up people to our “Australians Stand Up for Tibet” campaign.
 
4. ATC’s chair Zoe Bedford spoke at His Holiness’ public events in the Blue Mountains and in Perth and board member Prue Densley spoke in Brisbane. They reminded the thousands of Australians who came to listen to His Holiness that Tibetans in Tibet are not able to hear his words or even carry his photo.
 

5. In early October, in front of an audience of our political leaders we launched our new report, Tibet - An Environmental Challenge. Although many were familiar with Tibet’s human rights situation, we opened their eyes to the wider implications of China's occupation of Tibet. Our message was simple: Tibet lies at the heart of the great challenges of today's world. If world leaders are concerned about climate change, inequality and food and water security, they need to pay attention to Tibet.
 
6. During our Dharamsala Insight Tour in November, the ATC team had a rare opportunity to meet with the Dalai Lama at his residence. We presented His Holiness with our report on the Tibetan environment. A strong environmental advocate, the Dalai Lama took keen interest in the report and encouraged us to keep up with this campaign work. With the blessing of His Holiness, we are excited about taking this environment campaign to the next level in 2016.
 
7. The International Tibet Network is sharing a special edition of our environment report with activists and leaders attending the UN Climate Conference in Paris. On the first day of the conference, a Tibetan environmentalist handed our report to French President Francois Hollande who was attending a forum with civil society representatives.
 
8. On the eve of the UN climate summit, we joined Australia’s Tibetan communities at the Peoples Climate March in six major cities. Walking at the front of the marches, together we sent a strong message on the importance of Tibet to the global environment and joined the call for climate action. 
 
9. In November, a group of Australians joined our Dharamsala Insight Tour. From early morning walks around the Dalai Lama's temple to evening discussions on Tibetan feminism with inspiring women leaders, we spent a fortnight in the capital of Tibetan exiles and developed a deeper understanding and appreciation of Tibet’s rich culture and its critical political situation.
 
10. The death in Chinese custody of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche in July was a heavy blow for all of us at ATC. But out of tragedy came new resolve. Ahead of International Human Rights Day on 10 December, as politicians arrived for the final sitting week of the year, we joined with the Australian Tibetan Community Association to reminded our politicians about the plight of Tibet’s political prisoners. We flew 2,110 prayer flags above the lawns of Parliament - one prayer flag representing every Tibetan unjustly imprisoned by China. 

We are busy planning for what promises to be another year of hope and action for Tibet.

To join us in our work for Tibet, please donate to our End of Year appeal.