“I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support,” said Ngawang Sangdrol in an April 9 statement released at a reception held in her honor in Washington, DC, by the International Campaign for Tibet.

Undersecretary Paula Dobriansky, the U.S. State Department’s Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Lorne Craner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, T. Kumar, Advocacy Director for Asia & Pacific for Amnesty International, and representatives from Students for a Free Tibet and Capitol Area Tibetan Association attended the event.

The full text of Ngawang Sangdrol’s statement follows:

Message to Fellow Tibetans and Friends of Tibet (Translated from the original Tibetan)

Ever since I set foot on the soil of the United States I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from my fellow Tibetans in the free world as well as from friends of Tibet.

In the past few days my immediate concern has been my health and doctors have started the process of my examination. I appreciate the assistance that the International Campaign for Tibet has been rendering to me on this.

It is taking me time to adjust to this new atmosphere of freedom. This is because I have been brought up under an authoritarian system since my childhood and I lived without total freedom for over 11 years, while in prison. I am moved by the interest that the international community is showing in my case. I don’t consider myself as anyone special. I did what any individual who considers himself or herself a Tsampa-eating Tibetan would do when his or her community is deprived of its dignity and respect. No Tibetan can stand the denunciation of our peerless leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, or the denial of our fundamental rights. However, the political situation in Tibet and the suppressive rule there are not permitting the Tibetan people to come out with their true feelings.

My foremost desire is to have an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the earliest opportunity. I am filled with joy to learn that His Holiness is in good health. I was pleased to receive messages of good wishes from the officials of our Tibetan Government-in-Exile as well as Tibetan organizations and individuals.

I am deeply touched to learn that many individuals, organizations, and governments, particularly the United States, France and Switzerland, have worked towards my release. It is very clear to me that I have been released and allowed to come out to the free world for medical treatment and to enjoy my freedom because of international concern. Even as I enjoy this freedom I am concerned about the many more Tibetan political prisoners, including my fellow nun Phuntsok Nyidron, languishing in Chinese jails. I am presently compiling information about the conditions of these Tibetan prisoners. I am committing myself to doing everything possible so that they too can be released and can enjoy freedom, just like me. I appeal to the international community to help give them freedom.

I pray that His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s efforts towards the resolution of the Tibetan problem will have early results. I will abide by any advice His Holiness may have so that I can best contribute towards the fulfillment of his wishes for a solution to the just cause of Tibet. The Tibetan people in Tibet are eagerly waiting for the day when they can see the return of their beloved leader to their homeland, with dignity, freedom and respect.

Ngawang Sangdrol
Washington, D.C.
Royal Tibetan Year 2130 seventh day of the second month
April 9, 2003