Worldwide protests, meeting with the FCO and a 10th anniversary
October has definitely been Larung Gar action month. We worked closely with groups around the world to organise the international day of action on 19 October. Our campaigns team really enjoyed having the chance to work collaboratively on something substantive and this approach certainly seemed to pay off in terms of activity levels.
Our promotion for the day of action included a live Google hangout which was very international, with me dialling in from Delhi, John from Free Tibet in London, Mandie from the International Tibet Network somewhere else in the UK and Urgyen from SFT in New York. For once, the technology didn’t let us down and hundreds of people viewed the session online. When the 19th came around, our own protest took place outside the Chinese embassy in London. A couple of media teams came along and recorded interviews as well as live footage of the event.
Pictured above: Stand With Larung Gar protest at the Chinese Embassy (London)
Tibet Watch was able to take part in the Dharamasala based event for the day of action and sent us some great photographs (below). We also got great images from actions taking place in New York as well as in other countries.
We also met the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) team on 19 October as part of their preparation for the annual UK-China Human Rights Dialogue. We gave them an update on the situation in Tibet and our analysis of the current priority issues. Naturally, we asked them to raise the issue of Larung Gar and also provided details of political prisoners whose cases we would like them to raise with China.
This was our first opportunity to meet the new minister. It’s early days but he does seem to be genuinely more interested in human rights than his predecessor. Obviously, it’s hard for any one person outside of the senior leadership to really influence government policy but that’s why we need you. When people like you can share your concern for Tibet with your MP and convince them to raise issues and ask questions – that really does make a difference.
It’s been quite a while since we we’ve been involved in something as international as the Larung Gar campaign and it’s great to be a part of something so vibrant. We’ll be looking at new ways to take the campaign forward over the next couple of weeks. However, in the meantime, we also had an anniversary event to organise. We celebrated Tibet Watch’s 10th anniversary with the Dharamsala team in October but we also had a London event last week. We had St Ethelburga’s as our venue - a medieval church in the centre of London which was almost destroyed by an IRA bomb but later rebuilt as a centre for peace and reconciliation. It’s a beautiful building with a wonderful history and provided the perfect setting for Tibet Watch’s big day.
Eleanor is Director of Free Tibet and also of our research partner Tibet Watch. She joined the movement professionally in April 2013, having previously been Director of Casework for legal charity Amicus, where her work focused on the death penalty in the US. With a law degree and an MA in human rights, Eleanor has worked for many other campaigns and projects, including One For Ten, PeaceBrigades International, the Burma Human Rights Documentation Unit and the British Institute of International & Comparative Law. She has been a supporter of Free Tibet since her student days and has supported the Tibetan cause for over 20 years. Read updates from her on Twitter and each month on our blog.