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Copenhagen: Talk on Tibet's Environmental and Human Rights Issues Draws Large Audience

Copenhagen: The latest public event at COP15 by the Tibet Third Pole team has proved to be one of the most successful. An evening public talk on 16 December at Klimaforum (the NGO conference at COP15), on "Tibet Third Pole - Nomads: Climate change and human rights", attracted over 250 people. The packed hall listened to presentations from Tibet Third Pole team members, saw rare footage from Tibet and participated in a question and answer session. Translations in Spanish, Danish and French were also made available.

The panelists included Chokyi from the Environment Desk of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dolkar Lhamo Kiriti and Tenzin Dhardon Sharling from Tibetan Women’s Association, Venerable Ngawang Woeber, a former political prisoner the  from Gu-Chu-Sum and Tenzin Choedon, an environmental researcher from the Tibetan Settlement Office in Dharamsala, India. The talk was moderated by John Isom, executive director of Tibet Justice Center.

Ms. Chokyi, who works as a researcher at the Environmental and Development Desk, gave a 25-minute presentation on the core environmental issues in Tibet, and the specific case of Tibet's nomads. Her presentation began with the screening of a 2-minute clip from Dhondup Wangchen's film "Leaving Fear Behind" which featured an interview with a Tibetan nomad. The short film featuring Dhondup Wangchen's wife, "Lhamo Tso: Behind the Sea" (a Tibetan Women's Association production), was also screened. The audience found her story particularly moving and film-makers in the audience later requested for copies of the film and our permission to use this film for further screenings at various international events.

Ven. Ngawang Woeber, President of Gu Chu Sum, spoke about the environmental issues and environmental political prisoners in Tibet.  Ngawang himself being a former political prisoner also spoke briefly about his experience as a political prisoner in Tibet. Ms. Dolkar Lhamo Kirti, the president of Tibetan Women's Association, presented "Tibetans as environmental activists" and expounded on the specific case study about the mining protests in Markham and why the Tibetans won on that occasion and how this provides some hope for the future.

Ms. Tenzin Dhardon Sharling, who works as the research and media officer of Tibetan Women's Association, spoke on "Women's Human Rights and Climate Change in Tibet" with specific reference to the case of nomadic women and presented two case studies compiled from interviews with nomadic women. She also summarised Tibet Third Pole's demands of China and COP15 negotiators, the key of which being to halt the forced removal of Tibetan nomads from the Tibetan grasslands.

Ms. Tenzin Choedon spoke about how local exiled Tibetans are participating in environmental activities initiated by Tibetan Settlement Office in Dharamsala on waste management issues, recycling, education and awareness-raising.

The audience responded to the presentation with questions on glacial melting, nomadic resettlement and how climate change in Tibet is affecting the rest of Asia. There were many sympathetic responses and one Danish participant even apologised for the Danish government's recent statement on the Tibetan issue.

(Source: Tibet Third Pole)

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