|Type||Non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable corporation|
|Focus||Human rights activism|
Tibet Justice Center, (TJC, formerly International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet, ICLT) is an American legal association founded in 1989 that advocates human rights and self-determination for the Tibetan people.
The association is a non-governmental organization in Oakland, California, United States, defending human rights and self-determination for the people of Tibet.Through legal and educational activities ICLT promotes human rights, environmental protection, and peaceful resolution of the situation in Tibet.
Founded in the U.S. in 1989 as the International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet, it is historically the first and only association legal to support the cause of Tibet.The creation of the association was suggested by Michael van Walt van Praag, legal advisor to the 14th Dalai Lama, and John Ackerley, an attorney member of International Campaign for Tibet. Through meetings in Northern California held in the four main schools of law and two general conferences, fifteen lawyers and law students and a dozen of other interested people joined the new association.
In 1999, the association had 1,200 members, of whom one third are lawyers .
In 2000, Robert D. Sloane, a professor at the Boston University School of Law, joined the association and became Chairman of the Board.
Working with Amnesty International, the TJC was able to obtain the release of Gendun Rinchen, a Tibetan guide in Lhasa jailed in 1993 for passing reports on the violation of human rights in Tibet.In March 1996, he participated with Jerry Brown, Harry Wu and Orville Schell to an event in San Francisco in favor of TJC.
A delegation of six members of the TJC, Chimi Thonden, Yoden Thonden, Tenki Tendufla, Lisa Tracy and Eva Herzer, participated in the NGO Forum at the World Conference on Women in Beijing UN in 1995.However, a 2015 documentary "Makers" does show that the organization's visa application was denied by the Chinese Government.
The TJC participated in the Conference Habitat II (en) of the United Nations Programme for Human Settlements in Istanbul, Turkey on 5 June 1996, Eva Herzer, then President of TJC, gave a lecture entitled The destruction of Holy Lhasa: A case study.On 10 June, the association organized a workshop on Housing Rights Violations in Tibet: a case study of the application of international law.
In 1999, TJC conducted a campaign to adopt resolutions by cities and states across the United States asking the Government of China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and to negotiate an acceptable solution to the issue of Tibet with Tibetan representatives, based on the will of the Tibetan people.
In November 1999, the TJC sent three lawyers and two psychologists interviewed 57 children in a Tibetan refugee camp in India. In June 2000, the Association published a report stating that Tibetan children older than six years are detained and tortured for political and religious offenses in China. According to refugee children in India interviewed beatings and electric shocks administered to children imprisoned for offenses ranging from writing the word independence in a school for the use of photos of the Dalai Lama's book.
According to Mayank Chhaya, if the concept of self-governance by the autonomy has been studied for some time, it was not until about the 2000s that lawyers have seriously examined the different models that could be applied to Tibet. Eva Herzer, the founder of TJC, worked with the Tibetans in exile to consider a model of self-governance.Dagmar Bernstorff and Hubertus von Welck note that publication on the subject by TJC prompt a conference that brought together experts in international law, ministers, parliamentarians and Tibetan leaders in November 1999 in New Delhi evaluating opportunities agreement between Tibet and China.
According to Michael C. Davis, Professor of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the analysis by the association of indexes among 34 cases of territorial autonomy in the world reveals that Chinese policy of autonomy in Tibet is only nominal. A severe deficiency of real autonomy appears in the system established by the Chinese government. The TJC report highlights areas of autonomy in the world: cultural affairs, education, health and social services, taxes, economy, natural resources, environmental policies, posts and telecommunications, transport and the judicial police. These areas are covered by local autonomies in Chinese politics at Hong Kong, Macao, and that promised to Taiwan. In all these areas, the Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region is subordinate to the central government.For J. M. Mukhi, lawyer at the Supreme Court of India, the study of Eva Ezer, encyclopedic in scope, shows that there is little hope that Tibetans can benefit from self-governance without democratic change China.
TJC has undertaken in-depth on-the-ground research into the situation for Tibetan refugees living in India and Nepal, looking at what their status is under national law, what rights they are allowed in practice, and the effects this has on their lives and livelihoods. "Tibet's Stateless Nationals: Tibetan Refugees in Nepal" was published in 2002. "Tibet's Stateless Nationals II: Tibetan Refugees in India" was published in 2010. And "Tibet's Stateless Nationals III: Tibetan Refugees in India Update" was published in 2016.
TJC worked with Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) and Prof. Fiona McConnell of the University of Oxford on an 18-month project looking at the challenges faced when activists and advocates from unrepresented nations and peoples conduct UN advocacy. In 2015-17 we worked with 77 participants across three skills-sharing workshops (in Brussels, Geneva and Oxford), and a Training of Trainers (Geneva), and produced a survey of 65 activists worldwide, an 80-page DIY training manual on how to conduct successful UN advocacy, and a report based on the survey and 20 in-depth interviews called "Compromised Space: Bullying and Blocking at the UN Human Rights Mechanisms", published in 2018.
In 1995, the association has submitted a report to the UN on women's rights.In this report, the association said that Tibetan women are often forced to undergo abortions and sterilization operations. These women are also constrained by threats by the People's Republic of China to arrest and imprison their husbands if they do not submit to abortion and sterilization.
In 1999, the association has conducted a survey on children's right and produced a report to the UN.
In 2013, the association submitted a document for the pre-session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination's review of China.
In 2013, TJC worked with the International Tibet Network to establish the Tibet Advocacy Coalition, along with third founding member Students for a Free Tibet. In 2017, Tibetan Youth Association Europe, and Tibet Initiatives Deutschland joined as core groups. Over the past 6 years we have established a successful model to enable Tibet groups to build more coordinated, strategic advocacy at UN level. We have worked with Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, International Campaign for Tibet, Tibet Watch, Free Tibet, World Uyghur Congress, Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, Initiatives for China, Human Rights in China, Human Rights Watch, FIDH, and International Service for Human rights during the mentioned projects. The Coalition has a monitoring tool for progress in Tibet called the Human Rights Action Plan - Tibet, which collects together in one place all UN resolutions, recommendations, observations and action on Tibet on key human rights issues.
Tibet Advocacy Coalition successes:
The Central Tibetan Administration is Tibet's elected parliamentary government based in Dharamshala, India. It is also referred to as the Tibetan Government in Exile. It is composed of a judiciary branch, a legislative branch, and an executive branch. Since its formation in 1959, the Central Tibetan Administration has not been officially recognised by China. The Tibetan diaspora and refugees support the Central Tibetan Administration by voting for members of Parliament, the President and by making annual financial contributions through the use of the "Green Book." The Central Tibetan Administration also receives international support from organisations and individuals.
The Tibetan independence movement is a political movement for the independence of Tibet and the political separation of Tibet from China. It is principally led by the Tibetan diaspora in countries like India and the United States, and by celebrities and Tibetan Buddhists in the United States, India and Europe. The movement is no longer supported by the 14th Dalai Lama, who although having advocated it from 1961 to the late 1970s, proposed a sort of high-level autonomy in a speech in Strasbourg in 1988, and has since then restricted his position to either autonomy for the Tibetan people in the Tibet Autonomous Region within China, or extending the area of the autonomy to include parts of neighboring Chinese provinces inhabited by Tibetans.
Free Tibet (FT) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1987 and based in London, England. FT, according to their mission statement, advocates for “a free Tibet in which Tibetans are able to determine their own future and the human rights of all are respected.”
The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) is a non-profit advocacy group working to promote democratic freedoms for Tibetans, ensure their human rights, and protect Tibetan culture and the environment. Founded in 1988, ICT is the world's largest Tibet-related NGO, with several thousand members and strong bases of support in North America and Europe. On March 15, 2018, the ICT completed 30 years of service to the Tibetan community and received a video message from the Dalai Lama. ICT also released its new logo. An event was also held in the United States Congress on March 6, 2018 to mark the event with Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Jim McGovern, ICT Chairman Richard Gere, Representative Ngodup Tsering and ICT Board Member Tempa Tsering making remarks.
Jetsun Pema is the sister of the 14th Dalai Lama. For 42 years she was the President of the Tibetan Children's Villages (TCV) school system for Tibetan refugee students.
The Tibetan sovereignty debate refers to two political debates. The first is whether the various territories within the People's Republic of China (PRC) that are claimed as political Tibet should separate and become a new sovereign state. Many of the points in the debate rest on a second debate, about whether Tibet was independent or subordinate to China in certain parts of its recent history.
The history of Tibet from 1950 to the present includes the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950, and the Battle of Chamdo. Before then, Tibet had been a "de facto" independent state/province under the governance of the Republic of China. In 1951, Tibetan representatives in Beijing signed the Seventeen-point Agreement under duress, which affirmed China's sovereignty over Tibet while it simultaneously provided for an autonomous administration led by Tibet's spiritual leader, and then-political leader, the 14th Dalai Lama. During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when Tibetans arose to prevent his possible assassination, the Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet to northern India where he established the Central Tibetan Administration, which rescinded the Seventeen-point Agreement. The majority of Tibet's land mass, including all of U-Tsang and areas of Kham and Amdo, was officially established in 1965 as Tibet Autonomous Region, within China.
The Australia Tibet Council (ATC) is an independent, non-profit Australian organisation working to promote the human rights and democratic freedoms of the Tibetan people. ATC is funded solely by members and supporters. The organisation's headquarters are in Sydney.
Sinicization of Tibet is a phrase which is used by critics of Chinese rule in Tibet in reference to the programs and laws which force "cultural unity" in Tibetan areas of China, including the Tibet Autonomous Region and surrounding Tibetan-designated autonomous areas. The efforts are untaken by China in order to remake Tibetan culture into mainstream Chinese culture. Another term for sinicization is cultural cleansing or genocide, used by the 14th Dalai Lama and by the Central Tibetan Administration to describe the results of China's sinicization programs and laws in Tibet.
The 14th Dalai Lama is the current Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader of Tibet, and considered a living Bodhisattva, an emanation of Avalokiteśvara. The Dalai Lamas are also leaders of the Gelug school, which is the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism and is formally headed by the Ganden Tripa. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama to 1959, the central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the position of Dalai Lama with temporal duties.
Lobsang Sangay is a Tibetan-American politician who is the Sikyong (President) of the Tibetan-government-in-exile, officially known as Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) since 2012 and previously served as Kalön Tripa from 2011 to 2012. Following his election, at the request of the 14th Dalai Lama, the Tibetan parliament-in-exile amended the organisation's bylaws to remove the Dalai Lama's executive authority, making Lobsang Sangay its highest leader. In 2012, to reflect this change, Lobsang Sangay's title as chief executive was changed from kalön tripa to sikyong.
The Tibetan diaspora are the diaspora of Tibetan people living outside China.
Tsering Dolma Gyaltong was a Tibetan spiritual leader living in exile in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Tsering was active in being a Founding Member of the Tibetan Women's Association and re-establishing it again in 1984.
Human rights in Tibet are a contentious issue. Although the USA advocates and provided funds to Dalai Lama's independence movement, the United States did not recognize Tibet as a country. Reported abuses of human rights in Tibet include restricted freedom of religion, belief, and association; arbitrary arrest; maltreatment in custody, including torture; and forced abortion and sterilization. The status of religion, mainly as it relates to figures who are both religious and political, such as the exile of the 14th Dalai Lama, is a regular object of criticism. Additionally, freedom of the press in China is absent, with Tibet's media tightly controlled by the Chinese leadership, making it difficult to accurately determine the scope of human rights abuses.
Protests and uprisings in Tibet against the government of the People's Republic of China have occurred since 1950, and include the 1959 uprising, the 2008 uprising, and the subsequent self-immolation protests.
As of July 2020, 156 monks, nuns, and ordinary people self-immolated in Tibet since 27 February 2009, when Tapey, a young monk from Kirti Monastery, set himself on fire in the marketplace in Ngawa City, Ngawa County, Sichuan. According to the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), "Chinese police have beaten, shot, isolated, and disappeared self-immolators who survived."
Secession in China refers to several secessionist movements in the People's Republic of China.
Lobsang Nyandak, sometimes written Lobsang Nyendak also called Lobsang Nyandak Zayul is a Tibetan diplomat and politician. born in 1965 in Kalimpong, India where he performed his studies in Herbertpur and at Panjab University in Chandigarh. There, he held functions at Tibetan Youth Congress before becoming the founding Executive Director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. Member of the National Democratic Party of Tibet, he was elected deputy and was selected as a minister by Samdhong Rinpoche, the first elected Kalon Tripa of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). He then was the Representative of the 14th Dalai Lama to the Americas and became president of The Tibet Fund.
India–Tibet relations are said to have begun during the spread of Buddhism to Tibet from India during the 7th and 8th centuries AD. In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India after the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising. Since then, Tibetans-in-exile have been given asylum in India, with the Indian government accommodating them into 45 residential settlements across 10 states in the country. From around 150,000 Tibetan refugees in 2011, the number fell to 85,000 in 2018, according to government data. Many Tibetans are now leaving India to go back to Tibet and other countries such as United States or Germany. The Government of India, soon after India's independence in 1947, treated Tibet as a de facto independent country. However, more recently India's policy on Tibet has been mindful of Chinese sensibilities, and has recognized Tibet as a part of China.