Tibetan NGOs calls for action after awareness campaign on Tibetan democracy

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, September 1: A day ahead of the 56th anniversary Tibetan Democracy Day, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) and Tibetan Women’s Association(TWA) jointly launched a campaign to improve and strengthen Tibetan democracy.

Highlighting the important role played by grassroots and civil society groups in a democratic setup, Director of TCHRD, Tsering Tsomo described the Tibetan democracy setup as boundary less.

21291899_1642885642422506_740310503_nTCHRD and TWA have collectively conducted a two week campaign titled, ‘Mangtso: Tibetan Democracy Awareness Tour’ earlier in July. After touring across six different Tibetan communities in Delhi, Bengaluru, Dehradun, Bylakuppee, Mundgod and Orrisa, the NGO duo found out that a little over 70% of Tibetan respondents were of the view that allowing monks and nuns to cast two votes under the present arrangement of the Tibetan election is undemocratic, 74% of the respondents favored the existing two rounds of election for Sikyong and Parliamentarians and another 74% were of the view that the time to declare the preliminary results need to be shortened.

The president of the TWA, Dolma Yangchen passionately spoke about the responsibilities of the Tibetan NGOs to spread awareness at grassroots level about democracy and further highlighted the loop holes within the rules of the Tibetan Election Commission.

“The Election commission’s rules lack clarity and not every regional officer is on the same page and this creates further confusion among the voters,” she said and added, “Endorsement of candidates by provinces and associations is totally inappropriate and uncalled for.”

TCHRD announced that they will make the compilation of the videos of public discussions available from tomorrow, coinciding with the 56th anniversary of Tibetan Democracy Day. The group further stated that it will submit the opinions and suggestions collected from the Tibetan masses to the Tibetan Parliament with a hope that the Parliamentarians will reach on an agreement during the proceedings in September, having failed to do so in the March session.

“We will relay the ideas of the Tibetan public to their parliamentary representatives on the issue of electoral and democratic reforms,” TCHRD Director Tsering Tsomo said.