- ICT joins thousands of Tibetans and their supporters from across Europe gathering in Paris for a major rally on March 14, 2015, to demonstrate solidarity with the Tibetan freedom struggle and the Dalai Lama in his 80th year.
- Cartoonists and artists, including the famous Swiss artist Cosey, have provided powerful images for the Paris rally, reflecting values of freedom of speech, and political expression through the medium of cartoons.
- The Paris Declaration will be presented at the rally – which will be attended by Mr Robert Badinter, former Minister of Justice in the French government and former President of the Constitutional Council – calling upon European leaders to support the Tibetan people against oppression.
Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, who is speaking at the Paris rally, said: “This rally is commemorating a historic and somber anniversary and we wish to demonstrate our support and solidarity for the Tibetan cause. On March 10, 1959, Tibetans rose up as one to oppose China’s occupation and demand the right to determine their own affairs. Fifty-six years later, the situation in Tibet has only worsened. One hundred and thirty-seven Tibetans have set fire to themselves in one of the largest waves of self-immolation as political protest globally. Security has been heightened dramatically in Tibet, but even so, the people of Tibet have demonstrated their determination to express their identity, and the devotion to the Dalai Lama that the Chinese authorities have sought to suppress.”
Swiss artist Cosey, who has provided one of the drawings that will be displayed during the rally, said: “I’m very concerned by the degradation of human rights in Tibet, the absence of freedom of expression, the threats against freedom of religion and fundamental rights of Tibetan people. This must be denounced forcefully by our political leaders. I salute the courage of all Tibetan artists, whether musicians, painters, writers or poets, who use their art to resist the oppression of their people and defend their cultural identity. Their struggle is our struggle.”
March 10, 2015 is the 56th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising leading to the Dalai Lama’s flight into exile in 1959, and the seventh anniversary of an unprecedented wave of protests which swept through Tibet, only to be met by a violent crackdown. This year’s March 10 anniversary has a particular resonance as the Dalai Lama’s will turn 80 this year, a moment of particular significance to Tibetans.
Notes for Editors
1. All 11 original cartoons are available for downloading at: http://europe-stands-with-tibet.org/2015/03/cartoonists-for-tibet/
2. Organizers of the rally include the Tibetan communities in Europe, the International Campaign for Tibet, the International Tibet Network, and the Tibet Initiative Deutschland.