The International Campaign for Tibet will be awarded the prestigious Geuzen Medal 2005, the Dutch Geuzenverzet 1940-1945 Foundation announced today. Established in memory of the “de Geuzen” resistance group that fought against the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands during World War II, the award honors the work of organizations and individuals characterizing the spirit of resistance against repression. The members of the organization’s board unanimously decided to present ICT with the award “to express its admiration for [ICT’s] consistent non-violent efforts for a democratic Tibet and for the respect of the human rights of the Tibetan people”.

Ms Tsering Jampa, European Executive Director of ICT said, “This award is significant recognition of the non-violent character of the Tibetan resistance movement in the face of continued repression under the Chinese occupation. The International Campaign for Tibet is honored to receive this award on behalf of the Tibetan people, because no matter how we strive to support them, it is they who face the threat of persecution and imprisonment for their beliefs and the defense of their unique cultural identity. I would like to thank the Geuzenverzet 1940-1945 Foundation for this great honor in recognizing the work of the International Campaign for Tibet and also the Dutch people for their strong support for the just cause of Tibet”.

Tibet was occupied by the Chinese in 1950. In 1959, the Dalai Lama, the legitimate leader of Tibet, was forced to flee Tibet and seek refuge in India despite his attempts to peacefully co-exist with the Chinese authorities. Since then the Tibetan people, both inside Tibet and in exile, have continued to protest against the denial of their freedom and human rights. The Dalai Lama, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, has become a global symbol of peace, and respected by leaders the world over for his consistent non-violent struggle for Tibet.

The International Campaign for Tibet was founded in 1988. ICT monitors and reports on human rights, environmental and socio economic conditions in Tibet; advocates for Tibetans imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs; works with governments to develop policies and programs to help Tibetans; secures humanitarian and development assistance for Tibetans; and mobilizes individuals and the international community to take action on behalf of Tibetans.

ICT has developed a Chinese outreach program to build communication links and foster mutual understanding between Tibetans and Chinese and works to advance the Dalai Lama’s non-violent approach to finding a solution for Tibet through dialogue with the Chinese leadership.

“I am delighted that ICT has been recognized for its inspiring work in support of the Tibetan people’s non-violent quest for democratic freedom,” said Samdhong Rinpoche, the Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister) of the Tibetan government-in-exile, who has pioneered studies of non-violent action in the Tibetan exile community. “This award sends a strong message to the Tibetan people of the legitimacy of our approach under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It reminds us of the suffering of so many in the Second World War, and rewards the courage of Tibetans in Tibet in their day-to-day struggle. It is essential that the importance of non-violent resistance is recognized in a world focused on combating terrorism. At this point in our history, it is critical that the international community reward dialogue over violent conflict.”

The Geuzen Resistance Medal is an annual award honoring people and institutions that have committed themselves to the maintenance of democracy and/or have fought against racism and discrimination. Previous recipients include the Anne Frank Foundation, Amnesty International (Netherlands branch), Richard von Weizs?cker, president of the Federal Republic of Germany, former Czech President V?clav Havel, Chinese human rights activist Mr. Harry Wu, HM Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (Posthumous) and the kidnapped Colombian presidential candidate Ms. Ingrid Betancourt.

The award ceremony will be held on 12 March 2005 in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands. A number of activities to raise awareness of Tibet and ICT’s work are planned at the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) in Amsterdam in the weeks prior to ICT’s receipt of the award.