DHARAMSALA, Oct 13: Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) has called off its indefinite hunger strike in New Delhi after receiving written assurance from the United Nations to address their demands.
TYC, the largest Tibetan NGO in exile made the announcement on Oct 11, the 32nd day of the hunger strike after Yuri Afanasiev, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Resident Representative in India, personally visited the site of the hunger strike and delivered a letter to the TYC Hunger Strikers on behalf of the United Nations.
In the letter, UN Assistant Secretary General of the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner Ivan Simonovic requested the hunger strike to be called off and, assured that the demands of TYC and the voices of the Tibetan people will be heard. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had also expressed his concern about the health of the hunger strikers through the letter.
Hailing the UN’s assurance as a huge victory for the Tibetan people, TYC President Tenzin Jigme said: “The power of non-violent methods of resistance, and the fact that when we come together and fight for our country as one, we win, are evident from this victory.”
With a set of five demands to the UN, TYC’s three Central Executive members, Vice President Tamdin Hrichoe, Information & International Relations Secretary Tsewang Dolma and Finance Secretary Tenzin Wangchuk sat on “Indefinite Hunger Strike” for Tibet in New Delhi beginning Sep 10 to raise awareness about the critical situation inside Tibet, pay respect to the self-immolations for Tibet and show solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet.
The five demands to the UN were: 1) Urge the United Nations to raise the issue of Tibet at its General Assembly and Human Rights Council Session, 2) Urge China to address the demands of the Self Immolations in Tibet, 3) Urge China to give evidence that the 11th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima is alive, 4) Send a fact-finding UN delegation to assess the current critical situation in Tibet, 5) Urge China to release all political prisoners.
One of the hunger strikers, Tsewang Dolma was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital against her wish by Indian police, citing her deteriorating health as life threatening. The remaining two hunger strikers have been hospitalized for evaluation and recovery following the end of the hunger strike.
During the course of their 32-day hunger strike, hundreds of supporters met the hunger strikers and expressed their solidarity including a number of prominent Indian leaders and social activists, members of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile and common Tibetans. A poetry reading titled “Poetry for Peace” and an unplugged concert by the popular Indian rock band, Parikrama were also held at the hunger strike site.