Actor and activist Richard Gere will join veterans of the Dutch resistance movement at a joint press conference to announce this year’s Geuzen Medal winner in Vlaardingen, The Netherlands, today (Friday 11 March 2005). The event coincides with the anniversary of the 10 March Uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet in 1959, which led to the escape of the Dalai Lama from Tibet.

Richard Gere will accept the prestigious award from the Dutch Geuzenverzet 1940-1945 Foundation on behalf of The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) at a ceremony on Saturday (12 March). At the press conference, Richard Gere, who has been ICT’s chairman since 1997, will also launch the book Incomparable Warriors, a compelling collection of writings on Tibetan resistance by leading Tibetan and Chinese novelists, poets and scholars, and well-known Western commentators and historians.

The Dalai Lama said today: “It gives me great pleasure to know that the Geuzen Medal for 2005 is to be awarded to the International Campaign for Tibet. Since its inception the ICT has made a commendable contribution to the promotion of human rights and democracy in Tibet and supporting my non-violent efforts to find a negotiated solution to the Tibetan problem. I was very pleased to learn too that the Geuzenverzet Foundation was established in memory of the many who worked for freedom and democracy in resistance movements during the Second World War. It is indeed a privilege for the ICT to be counted among such illustrious company.”

The Geuzen Medal honors the work of organizations and individuals who characterise the spirit of resistance against repression. The Foundation’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”. Previous winners include Amnesty International Netherlands, Richard von Weizs?cker, president of the Federal Republic of Germany, and former Czech President V?clav Havel.

ICT, established in 1988, 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 mobilises individuals and the international community to take action on behalf of Tibetans.

The events in Vlaardingen coincide with a week of events at the Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam at the time of the anniversary of the National Uprising in Tibet.