March 1, 2006

Tibet: Tibetan Youth Congress Calls off Indefinite Hunger Strike

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on February 25 held a press conference at the site of the Indefinite Hunger Strike. Mr. Mario Pescante gave assurance that IOC would follow up on their concerns and requested them to discontinue the hunger st
Living up to its own commitment the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on February 25 held a press conference at the site of the TYC Indefinite Hunger Strike as a mark of its acceptance of the demands of the three Hunger Strikers. Representing the IOC were Mr. Mario Pescante, Executive member of IOC and President of European Olympic Committee and Mr. Maza Pierpaolo, Vice President of Turin Organising Committee (TOROC) for the XX Olympic Winter Games. At the official Press conference Mr. Mario Pescante gave assurance to the hunger strikers that IOC would 'follow up on the concerns expressed by the hunger strikers' and requested them to discontinue the hunger strike.

Mr. Mario Pescante also said that Mr. Jacques Rogge, President of IOC had instructed him to visit the hunger strikers to convey the message that International Olympic Committee has 'heard the message conveyed by the hunger strikers' and that 'they have succeeded in bringing their appeal to the International Olympic Committee'. As a result, he said that the Hunger Strikers' concerns are being given high attention by IOC and that the IOC will be 'taking up the cases which the hunger strikers had sought to highlight'. He assured to raise the issue of Tibet’s human rights during the official IOC meeting on Sunday, the concluding day of the Turin Winter Olympic Games and further pledged that IOC will 'continue to follow-up as appropriate within their respective mandate'.
On February 27, Mr. Marco Calgaro, Vice Mayor of Turin accompanied by Mr. Tricarico, state minister, officially visited the hunger strike spot as representatives of the Mayor of Turin, Mr. Sergio Chiamparino with the Mayor's message expressing his concern for the demands of the hunger strikers and providing assurance that they have consulted the matter with the executive members of the IOC. Moreover, the Vice Mayor gave assurances to the Hunger Strikers of raising the issue concerning Tibet at the European Parliament against China and urged the Hunger Strikers to stop the hunger strike movement.

On account of the above developments and taking into consideration the fact that the Hunger Strikers have moved forward in achieving justice for the Tibetan people, the Tibetan Youth Congress called off its Indefinite Hunger Strike on February 27, 2006. The Vice Mayor of Turin offered juice to the hunger strikers at a moving function to break the fast of the three hunger strikers of TYC Ven. Palden Gyatso (former political prisoner and author of “Fire Under the Snow”), Mr. Sonam Wangdue (President of Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Dharamsala) and Mr. Tamdin Choephel (Vice President of Tibetan Community Italy).

Tibetan Youth Congress salutes the courage and endurance of the three Tibetans and look upon their sacrifice as inspiration for our continuing struggle to regain the freedom of Tibet. TYC respects the assurances provided by the IOC as a step forward in the IOC giving consideration to the plight of the Tibetan people.

Although the International Olympic Committee has not addressed our demands in entirety, TYC nonetheless respect the appeals and messages received from Governments, Parliamentarians, NGOs as well as individuals the world over. While calling off this current action, the TYC leadership is fully committed in intensifying our course of action with further activities and campaigns.

The Tibetan Youth Congress is grateful to the solidarity and support expressed by the thousands of visitors at the Hunger Strike site for the rightful demands of the hunger strikers, with special mention to the President of Italian Parliamentary group for Tibet, Mr. Gianni Vernetti, Mr. Bruno Mellano, members of Italian Parliament of Radical Party, Ms. Laura Cima, Italian Parliamentarian, Mr. Enrico Buemi, Commissioner Justice Office Rome, Mr. Ermesto Oliverio, Director of Sermig, Mr. Claudio Tecchio, Solidarity Campaign with Tibetan People, Mr. Gunter Cologna, President of Italia Tibet Association, Mr. Mario Scotti, Secretary of CISL Trade Union, Mr. Squeo, President, Christian Workers Movement, Mr. Bruno Portigliattem, President of European Buddhist Union, Ms. Rossana Degiovanni, Radical Party and Mr. Paolo Phobbiati, President of Amnesty International Italy.

The Hunger Strikers were greatly touched by the personal visits and thousands of messages of support from individuals and organisations from Italy, France, Sweden, India, Germany and the States.

The Tibetan Youth Congress believes that the messages of support from the President of the European Parliament Intergroup for Tibet, Amnesty International, the Global Peace Foundation, Human Rights Organisation, Tibet supporters from different parts of the world have greatly contributed towards the achievements of the TYC Indefinite Hunger Strike.

Mr. Thomas Mann, the President of the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament in his message sent to the hunger strikers on February 24, 2006 said, ‘I believe that the just cause of the Tibetan people must be supported by the international community. Therefore, I urge the IOC to pay immediate attention to your demands … My prayers are with all of you in Turin, and I will do my best to raise the awareness on your selfless action in the international community.’

The genuine support from the Government of Italy, Italy Tibet support groups, Tibetan Community Italy and all the media personals for highlighting the just cause of Tibet the world over has greatly encouraged TYC, not just in its struggle for independence but also for further activism and stronger relations with the people of Italy.

TYC would like to extend its heartfelt thanks to the people and the Government of Italy for their concern and support for our rightful cause. We further pay our gratitude to all the members of Tibetan Community Italy for furnishing every possible help in organising this hunger strike movement in Turin, Italy.

The situation in Tibet continues to remain grave. Our brethrens inside Tibet are doing everything they can for the freedom of our country by risking their lives. The very identity of the Tibetan people, and of our nation, faces extinction if we, those living in free countries fail to discharge the duties that our struggle asks of us. TYC believes that every Tibetan owes it to himself or herself to do whatever one can for the fulfilment of our rightful demands. As we move on our road to sacrifice and freedom, this may be an end to our hunger strike in Turin, Italy, but there will never be an end to the struggle of the TYC and the Tibetan people until we regain out nation back.

TYC reaffirms its demand for the complete independence of Tibet as the ultimate aspiration of the 6 million Tibetans and pledges to sacrifice what ever our struggle may take of us.

Source: Phayul

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