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Exile Tibetan parliament begins session amid public campaign for restoration of apex judiciary

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(TibetanReview.net, Sep20’23) – Into the second of its five-year term, the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) began its 6th half-yearly session on Sep 19 with no certainty that it will finally move to allow the Charter of Tibetans in Exile to be amended so that justice commissioners can be appointed to restore the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission to its full capacity. However, the main agenda is to discuss the annual reports of the various departments of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). One member called on the CTA to abandon its middle way approach of seeking autonomy, not independence for Tibet.

The Charter amendment has thus far been stymied by a section of members of the TPiE, made up predominantly of the Dotoe and religious constituency members. Around 500 Tibetans from across the exile community have gathered under the aegis of a group called Zhirim Mimang (The Advocacy of the General Public for the Sustainability of CTA) to pressure the TPiE to make a positive move on this issue.

The main appeal of the group, its President Ms Tenzin Yangkar has said, is to urge the 17th TPiE is to amend the provision of the Charter on the selection of the Chief Justice Commissioner and the other two Justice Commissioners and to thereby restore one of the three vital pillars of Tibetan Democracy.

On the eve of the TPiE session, the group held a press conference, with Ms Rinchen Khando, a former Kalon (minister) of the CTA, as chief guest, to launch its campaign.

Mr Tsetan Phuntsok, an organising committee member, made it clear, “if TPiE fails to reach a consensus during their 10-day session regarding the amendment in the charter for the appointment of Judges, then we will remain here and continue our advocacy.”

Amid heated exchanges at some points in debates, Kagyue TPiE member Mr Tenpa Yarphel called on the CTA to abandon what he called its ineffectual Middle Way Policy and restore the campaign for Tibet’s complete independence. Although a good section of members are known to support the independence goal, there is a unanimous resolution of the TPiE, expressing support for the middle way approach as first proposed by HH the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, in the 1980’s.

Tenpa Yarphel hoped the TPiE could pass a resolution in support of his position.

Tenpa Yarphel’s remarks came during the discussion of a resolution to express solidarity with the Tibetan people in Tibet and in response to Domey TPiE member Geshe Gangri’s criticism of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker for having sent a representative of the TPiE’s standing committee to the 6th International Rangzen Conference held in Delhi last month. His criticism was based on the fact that the conference was against the Dalai Lama-initiated middle way policy adopted by the TPiE and that some participants in it had allegedly defamed the Tibetan spiritual leader, and called for the dissolution of the CTA.

The TPiE session will continue till Sep 28.

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