Tibetan Communities in New Zealand and Australia Conclude 4th Tibetan Conference

Canberra: The Tibetan communities based in Australia and New Zealand held their fourth Tibetan conference at Dee Why, Sydney, from 11 – 13 April, as a part of an event to commemorate 50 years in exile.

The conference also called for urgent action towards repealing of death sentences meted out to four Tibetans by a Chinese court in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, for their alleged involvement in the protests in March 2008. A formal letter of condemnation signed by presidents of the various regional Tibetan communities of Australia and New Zealand was sent to the Chinese Embassy in Australia. A press release was also sent out urging in particular the Government of Australia and New Zealand to “condemn the Chinese authorities for the gross human rights violations” in Tibet and to demand for a free and fair trail to all those who are detained in Tibet.

A special prayer led by Tibetan monks and members of Tibetan communities was held to secure reversal of sentences and for well being of those who are still suffering repression in Tibet.

The conference witnessed the gathering of around 300 Tibetans residing across the continent of Australia and New Zealand. As part of the agenda, the presidents of Tibetan communities read out their annual reports and discussed the agenda.

On the second day of conference, a special reception called “THANK YOU AUSTRALIA” was held to honour all Tibet Support Groups including the Australian chapter of the International Commission of Jurist, the body that raised pioneering legal voice to the plight of the Tibetans in the early days of exile in 1959 and onwards. The other Tibet support groups and dignitaries present were Tibet Friendship Group, Australian Tibetan Society, Australian Tibet Council, Han-Tibetan Association, Freedom 4 Tibet, Mr. Bread Hazzard, MP and Dr. Christena Kirshch, council from Warringah and some members from the local government. The delegates were offered with Khatak-(Tibetan traditional scarf) and a book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with Rangtsen Thakpa (knitted black & white wrist band) as an appreciation for their untiring support towards Tibetans and Tibet cause. A group of Tibetan primary schoolchildren dressed in traditional Tibetan costumes sang both the Tibetan and Australian national anthem.

The Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Canberra, Mr. Tenzin P Atisha, in his opening speech thanked the government and people of Australia and the Tibet support groups including All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet for their significant contribution towards Tibetan community in exile and for raising Tibet’s issue not only in Australia but also internationally.

A separate gathering of Tibetan youths was held with the aim to allow them to brainstorm ways to preserve and promote Tibetan language and culture. They also discussed about networking among Tibetan youth worldwide and also with Chinese and Australian youth studying at their schools, colleges, and universities to educate them on Tibet’s issue.

On a whole, the three days conference was a great success and an interactive one. The president of Tibetan community in Australia, New South Wales, Mr. Tenzin Gaden and his team did an excellent job in arranging this conference.