Why No Mention Of Tibet Issue In UN General Assembly?


The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting was just concluded in New York ,where all member countries participated. Most of the countries were represented by Presidents or Prime Ministers or top leaders of the government. Many issues were raised by the leaders of different countries during their allotted time, which were listened with rapt attention by member countries. The member countries spoke about the issues and disputes faced by them and asked for UN intervention.

The issues such as Kashmir, Syria, Palestine etc. were all raised. One issue that was conspicuously missed was the Tibetan issue.

China’s occupation of Tibet after suppressing the Tibetans violently was one of the most inhuman and brutal attacks on human rights in the world after the second world war. Till today, Tibet is under illegal occupation of China and Tibetans have lost their freedom. Several Tibetans had to flee their mother land fearing safety., after China’s occupation and they could not return back to their motherland till now.

It is high time that Tibetans around the world should introspect as to why their plight was not highlighted by any country during the UNGA discussions. Are Tibetans themselves responsible for the situation? Is it due to lack of adequately strong campaign for Tibetan freedom by Tibetans themselves and their supporters?

During the last few years, China has tried to confuse the issue and conceal its illegal occupation by appointing its stooge as Panchan lama and organizing Buddhist summit meetings from time to time to give an impression to the world that it values Buddhist philosophy and tradition. Now, China is insisting that the next Dalai Lama will have to be approved by China.

To add to the deliberate confusion caused by the Chinese government, confusion has also been added by some statements made by the respected Holiness the Dalai Lama, who said that Tibet can be an autonomous region under overall Chinese government and this view was strongly rejected by the Chinese government.

One cannot be blamed if he would think that the reason why Tibetan issue has not been highlighted and brought to the world attention and to the attention of UNGA could be that Tibetans could be losing confidence in their capability to fight against China. Could this be so?

The ground reality is that many Tibetans who came out of Tibet and sought asylum in other countries and have become citizens of other countries may have lost sustained interest in seeing a free Tibet and perhaps, they have no plans to return to Tibet. Further, with Tibet under Chinese control for over sixty years now, the second and third generations of Tibetans who were born after Chinese occupation of Tibet have not seen Tibet and possibly do not have the emotional attachment, as they are citizens of some other countries now with secured living conditions. Could this be so?

The objective of this article is not to criticise the Tibetans but only to highlight the fact that Tibetans’ forums seem to be functioning more like academic bodies, possibly even with some differences between the members. It appears that conferences and meetings are organized more as a matter of routine than with full fledged determination to recover Tibet from Chinese occupation.

It is also possible that many of the second and third generation Tibetans born after Chinese occupation are not participating in such meetings and conferences, which mean that the Tibetan forums and their conferences and protest meetings lack teeth and are not adequately represented.

It would have been appropriate if the Tibetans in exile have made a representation to the United Nations secretary General to give an opportunity for them to represent their views, for whatever it is worth. Tibetans should learn from the struggle against Pakistan government launched by Baluchistan freedom fighters and the struggle launched against China by the Hong Kong citizens.

Tibetans seem to be losing time and opportunities. The absence of any reference to human rights violation in Tibet during UNGA meeting amply highlight the fact that Tibetans in exile have not done enough.

The fear is whether plight of Tibetans would become a non issue. This should not happen and the ball is entirely in the court of Tibetans. Who will fight for Tibet, if Tibetans would not do so with grim determination?

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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