Melbourne: His Holiness the Dalai Lama has wrapped-up his eleven-day visit to Australia and New Zealand, spending his final day in Melbourne. Today, International Human Rights Day, marked twenty years since His Holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The day began with a breakfast function organized by Australia Tibet Council and Amnesty International to celebrate the anniversary and give His Holiness the opportunity to address an influential Australian and international audience.
The event, titled “Peace Through Justice”, saw His Holiness share the stage with Prof. Larissa Behrendt, a prominent indigenous Australian. The event focussed on the importance of truth, justice and respect for human rights in the lasting resolution of conflict.
After a traditional indigenous “Welcome to Country” Professor Larissa Behrendt spoke about the ongoing plight of Australia’s indigenous people. Prof. Behrendt highlighted the ongoing voicelessness, exclusion, insecurity and deprivation of aboriginal Australians and the universal right to freedom from poverty.
In a half-hour address His Holiness discussed the situation facing many of the world’s indigenous peoples, expressing particular sadness at the conditions facing indigenous Australians. Nonetheless, with his ever-hopeful, practical and forward-looking perspective, His Holiness spoke of the enormous gains in human rights protection over the last century and urged all minority and indigenous peoples to make extra efforts to preserve their identity and culture.
The celebration of His Holiness’s Nobel Peace Prize anniversary continued with a felicitation by the Han-Tibetan Friendship Association. In the company of several Federal Parliamentarians and other dignitaries, over five hundred Tibetans and Chinese took part in an elaborate felicitation featuring speeches and cultural performances.
His Holiness then met with members of the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, who presented him with a report on their recent activities in support of Tibet.
In the final event of His Holiness’s Australian visit and rounding-off a series of public talks on the theme of responsibility, His Holiness addressed several thousand Melbournians on the theme of “World Peace: Who is Responsible?”
–Report filed by Simon Bradshaw, Australia Tibet Council