This study investigates the correlation between violations of cultural rights and the violence committed by state actors against a community rooted in a profoundly Buddhist society. It is based on the first-hand testimonies of Tibetan exiles who have sought asylum in Switzerland. It uncovers the experiences, perceptions and opinions of Tibetans, most of whom have suffered various forms of abuse in Tibet.
The approach adopted in this book draws on the 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and 2007 Declaration de Fribourg, which reflect the essential role of cultural rights. It also focuses on the concept of genocide developed by Raphael Lemkin (1900–1959). The PRC has violently disrupted the natural process of cultural change in Tibet, through forced cultural assimilation which continues to engender violence.
Tibetans’ resilience, nonviolence and commitment to peace are powerful coping mechanisms. Yet, extreme self-violence continues: since 1998, 157 self-immolations have been reported. Efforts must continue to advocate for human rights in Tibet, particularly when it comes to issues of freedoms of expression, religion, assembly and of movement, in order to secure a sustainable peace that would benefit both Tibet and the PRC.