Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures during his visit in Prague, Czech Republic, October 17, 2016. REUTERS/David W Cerny
CAIRO – 28 February 2019: The Dalai Lama, known for his progressive views on women and human rights, as well as his humanitarian and moral stance and will to push towards equality, has encouraged women to take up leadership roles in the political sphered while addressing a 75-women delegation from the Young FICCI Ladies Organisation (YFLO) of New Delhi, India.
According to the Underrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), the Dalai Lama focused on the important role that women play in society, pointing towards the positive impact that women have on communities. He also encouraged women to take up active roles, where they can be role models to younger generations, and to guide humanity and social society towards what is right. The Dalai Lama argued that women taking up leadership roles is vital to advancing societies and economies.
While doing this, he also criticized the discrimination that women face as a result of their religious beliefs or social status. “He cited as an example former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, the first woman in the history of modern India to hold the post,” according to UNPO.
“We are now in the 21st century. If we look back at the 20th century, it was a time of violence and fear. Therefore, we should make this century an era of non-violence and compassion,” said the Tibetan spiritual leader. “With regard to compassion, there is scientific evidence that women are more sensitive to others’ pain. Indeed, in human history most warriors, or killers, were men, whereas women consistently show more concern for others’ well-being. In this century we should make special efforts to promote loving-kindness and women should take a leading role in this. They shouldn’t just stay at home, but should support and be actively involved with education.”
What is happening in Tibet?
The situation in Tibet is not admirable. The Chinese government has been working hard to persuade people of Chinese ethnicity to move to Tibet. There are, currently, more Chinese people living in Tibet that Tibetans; this is due to the numberless privileges that are given to any Chinese person living there. Meanwhile, there is discrimination against Tibetans, both in terms of employment and everyday treatment, stated the Cambridge Free Tibet Campaign in 2014.
Religion wise, China continues to suppress Tibetans through condemning and restricting the teaching and learning of Buddhism. They restrain the number of monks and nuns allowed in monasteries; this discrimination is against their culture Tenzin, 1996. Article 36 of the Chinese constitution states that citizens ‘enjoy freedom of religious belief’ and that the state is not allowed to interfere with anyone’s religious beliefs, however, in Tibet, which is ruled by the Chinese constitution, any pictures of or references to the, currently exiled, Dalai Lama are forbidden, according to the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China 2014 report. Additionally, monks and nuns are regularly subjected to ‘patriotic re-educational programs’, where they spend weeks reading literature denouncing the Dalai Lama, explains the International Campaign for Tibet report in 2014.
According to the International Campaign for Tibet (2014), the Chinese government continues to politically oppress Tibetans. They have no human rights; they do not enjoy the right to have the government listen to them since nearly everyone in a high position is Chinese. Failure to observe any rules, such as not interfering with how the country is run or teaching Buddhism in the Tibetan language, results in political imprisonment, where the prisoners undergo many human rights violations. Some of these violations are torture, denial of food and sleep, beating, and isolation; furthermore, many women undergo forceful abortion and sterilisation, explained Shakabpa in1983.
Most Tibetans, according to the BBC in 2013, think that the world have turned their head on China’s human rights’ violations. This has caused a form of extreme protest, which is self-immolation. This is where a person, usually a monk or a nun, sets himself or herself on fire, in order to symbolize to the world how much pain they are going through. Self-Immolation by Tibetans (2014), suggests that those who set themselves on fire do so in order to convey the idea to the world that they are going through more pain everyday just by living in Tibet, under the Chinese rule, than they are when they are on fire; the most common demand of self-immolators is to bring back the Dalai Lama. Today, there have been 145 reported cases of self-immolation, 40 of which have died; however, these are just the cases that have been officially announced.