By the Tibetan Youth Congress
Today as His Holiness the Dalai Lama makes a very positive move in the development of Tibetan democracy and ensure the survival and sustainability of the Tibetan cause in the long run, we make this appeal to the members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.
The Tibetan people and Tibetan nation have greatly benefitted and remain highly grateful to the Institution of the Dalai Lamas and the legacies this institution has created. Additionally, in the wake of the Chinese occupation of Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama who was barely 16 years old shouldered the responsibility as the temporal and spiritual leader of Tibet and fled into exile. Immediately upon arrival to India as a political refugee in a completely unfamiliar territory, He engaged in establishing a rehabilitation process for the thousands of Tibetan refugees while making efforts to yield a resolution to the issue of Tibet. He established Tibetan settlements, monastic institutions, Tibetan schools, and provided leadership and unity to the Tibetan people who were scattered and divided all over the world. Despite being in exile and being exposed to the challenges of being in a foreign land, He had the vision and wisdom of instating a system of democracy in place.
In the critical time of life and death-like situation for the Tibetan people and the Tibetan nation, His Holiness shouldered his responsibilities remarkably. The Tibetan people will never forget their gratitude and recognize the fact that they will never find a leader such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama. For several years, His Holiness had expressed His desire and intentions for semi or full retirement. Subsequent to His announcement of His intentions, on 8th December 2010, the Tibetan Youth Congress submitted an appeal to His Holiness requesting Him to consider for retirement only from the routine administrative duties but not otherwise.
Today’s statement of His Holiness on the occasion of the 11th session of the 14th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, makes explicit His desire for full retirement stating, “No system of governance can ensure stability and progress if it depends solely on one person without the support and participation of the people in the political process”...“The essence of a democratic system is, in short the assumption of political responsibility by elected leaders for the popular good. In order for our process of democratization to be complete, the time has come for me to devolve my formal authority to such an elected leadership”...“If we have to remain in exile for several more decades, a time will inevitably come when I will no longer be able to provide leadership. Therefore, it is necessary that we establish a sound system of governance while I remain able and healthy, in order that the exile Tibetan administration can become self-reliant rather than being dependent on the Dalai Lama. If we are able to implement such a system from this time onwards, I will still be able to help resolve problems if called upon to do so. But, if the implementation of such a system is delayed and a day comes when my leadership is suddenly unavailable, the consequent uncertainty might present an overwhelming challenge. Therefore, it is the duty of all Tibetans to make every effort to prevent such an eventuality”...“Amendments to the Charter on this occasion must conform to the framework of a democratic system in which the political leadership is elected by he people for a specific term. Thus, all the necessary steps must be taken, including the appointment of separate committees, to amend the relevant Articles of the Charter and other regulations, in order that a decision can be reached and implemented during this very session”...“My intention to devolve political authority derives neither from a wish to shirk responsibility nor because I am disheartened. On the contrary, I wish to devolve authority solely for the benefit of the Tibetan people in the long run. It is extremely important that we ensure the continuity of our exile Tibetan administration and our struggle until the issue of Tibet has been successfully resolved.”
This statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama felt like an earnest aspiration of a father to his children to take on the responsibility in order to make them more self-reliant. His Holiness is entrusting us with his profound vision of a future Tibet and its governance through a progressive system of democracy. In short, this investment of his power and responsibility on the Kalon Tripa and the Tibetan Parliament to shoulder the responsibility of the future of Tibet and the Tibetan cause is not only profound but historic. Under such circumstances, instead of throwing the responsibility back on His shoulders, we should be more determined to assume more responsibilities for the cause of Tibet. The Tibetan Youth Congress as a non-governmental organisation working for the cause of Tibet would like to pledge that we will do our share of taking on more responsibility; more than ever before. Therefore, we would like to call on the members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile to allow democracy to evolve and enhance their contribution for the sustainability of the Tibetan issue and the Tibetan government as expressed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and make attempts to fulfill His wishes and for this meeting to devise a framework and procedure to make strategic plans for the future of Tibet.
Whether His Holiness the Dalai Lama takes semi or full retirement, his leadership and the bond between Him and the Tibetans will never diminish from the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people who will always look up to him for his guidance and wisdom. The Tibetan people will forever remain completely indebted to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Institution of the Dalai Lamas and pray that this Institution and legacy lives on.
With prayers in our hearts for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and hope for the restoration of Tibetan independence, we at Tibetan Youth Congress on 14 March 2011 submit this appeal.
Note: Translated from Tibetan, which should be considered final and authoritative.