Tibetan exiles call for Liu Xiaobo's release ahead of World Human Rights Day

Tibetan Women's Association, Gu Chu Sum, National Democratic Party of Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet - India today issued a joint statement, titled "Democracy in China: Freedom for Tibet" seeking for their unconditional release.

"On the International Human Rights Day and the 21st anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, people across the globe rejoice the conferring of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo," the statement proclaimed.

The exiled Tibetan leader won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his peaceful and non-violent approach to free Tibet from Chinese control.

"While the Chinese government has labeled the award “an obscenity”, Tibetans in exile stand in solidarity with Liu Xiaobo and praise his democratic ideals," the statement said.

"On 10th December, when the world witnesses the award ceremony in Oslo, Liu will be not there to accept the award as he will still be behind bars serving his 11 years sentence," it added.

Despite usual protests from Beijing, the Tibetan NGOs said the Nobel Committee's decision to award this year's peace prize to Liu was a "highly commendable" one.

“The strong stand taken by the Nobel Committee in presenting this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo has not only undermined the totalitarian Chinese Regime, but has also given enormous hope to people who are oppressed around the world,” said Kirti Dolkar Lhamo, President of Tibetan Women's Association.

“Recognizing Liu Xiaobo as a non-violent advocate and pursuer of democracy gives hope to the Tibetan people whose long-standing struggle for freedom and justice continues," she added.

Liu Xiaobo, a strong advocate of the Tibetan people, has authored many articles commenting on the occupation of Tibet, including “The Crisis in Tibet is the Failure of Materialist Dictatorship” and "Twelve Suggestions for dealing with the Tibetan Situation", which was written in response to the 2008 uprisings in Tibet.

The NGOs also called on the Indian Prime Minister Mr Man Mohan Singh to raise the issue of Tibet during the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India next week.

“We urge the Prime Minister of India, Shri Manmohan Singh to raise the Issue of Tibet with Wen Jiabao during his India visit and press the Chinese government to implement the political and human rights reform for which thousands of Chinese and Tibetan advocates risk their lives,” said Lukar Jam, a former political prisoner and the Vice President of GuChuSum Movement of Tibet, which is an organisation representing former Tibetan political prisoners.

“We also demand the Chinese government for immediate release of Liu Xiaobo and all the Heroic Tibetan and Chinese human rights defenders suffering in prisons inside Tibet and China," added in the statement.

The groups said there are more than 3,000 Tibetan political prisoners who are suffering in Chinese prisons inside Tibet for exercising their right to free expression.

Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), a leading pro-independence Tibetan organisation also issued a statement here today to mark Wolrd Human Rights Day on Friday.

"As we celebrate the 62nd Anniversary of the adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948, we would like to draw your attention to the historical fact that around the same time the Declaration was adopted and proclaimed, Tibet was brutally occupied by China," the statement said.

"Torture, involuntary disappearances, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, denial of religious, cultural rights and freedom of expression continue unabated in Tibet today," it added.

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