Oct. 19, 2016 – Over 180 Tibetan organisations from around the world have condemned the ongoing removals and demolitions at Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in one of the largest joint statements ever made by Tibetan organisations.

In the statement, the organisations describe the damage being done to Larung Gar and urge the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, to call on China to halt the demolitions and removals. The statement also calls on the High Commissioner to push for an official visit to Tibet, including to Larung Gar.

Groups from Tibet, Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australasia and Europe are all represented in the statement.

The call comes as part of the Global Day of Action for Larung Gar, today on 19 October, in which protests are taking place in at least 20 cities around the world. A prayer ceremony has already taken place in Dharamsala with a large audience.

Joint statement by Tibet groups on Larung Gar, 19 October 2016

As Tibetans and Tibet campaigners, we are gravely concerned by the damage and destruction being caused by the Chinese authorities at Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, one of the largest and most respected Buddhist institutions in the world, and home to at least 10,000 monks, nuns and visiting students. In July 2016 the Chinese authorities begun plans to expel at least 5,000 of the Academy residents and demolish the vacated monks and nuns homes.

An order, issued by local Chinese authorities in June 2016, called for a dramatic reduction in the Larung Gar’s population stating the community was in need of “ideological guidance” from the state. Since July 2016 at least 600 residences have been destroyed, while as many as 1,000 Tibetan monks and nuns have been expelled. If the Chinese government’s plan is successfully completed, at least 5,000 residents will be forced to leave and great swathes of this beautiful site will be reduced to rubble.

The order also has a series of rigid deadlines for the demolitions and removals, and strict penalties for failure to meet the deadlines, including further, punitive expulsions. Local sources have even reported threats that the entire site could be demolished if residents do not comply with the order. The next impending deadlines are 20 October, by which time 1,200 residents must be removed, and 31 October, when their residences must be demolished.

Evicted monks and nuns were not consulted prior to the order being issued. On 20 July 2016 a work team, accompanied by armed police and soldiers, began cordoning off areas of the site before demolishing buildings with bulldozers and diggers. The distress that this has caused is highlighted by reports that, since July, three Tibetan nuns at Larung Gar have committed suicide; two of the nuns, Rinzin Drolma and Tsering Drolma, left notes referring to the demolitions and government “harassment.”

This situation represents an intolerable imposition of state control at Larung Gar, and is representative of a far wider pattern of interference by the Chinese government in Tibet’s religious affairs that is in direct contravention of the Chinese Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, both of which guarantee freedom of religious belief, with no discrimination or compulsion. We urge the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to call on China to halt the ongoing demolitions and removals at Larung Gar, and allow local Tibetan religious leaders to make the decisions concerning the management of monasteries. We also urge the High Commissioner continue pushing for a visit to China with a specific request for unfettered access to Tibet, and to Larung Gar.

For list of signatories go to: http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/na/over-180-tibet-groups-condemn-larung-gar-demolitions-joint-statement