Projects and Programs
I. HUMAN RIGHTS
II. ENVIRONMENT & DEVELOPMENT
III. ASYLUM AND IMMIGRATION
IV. DEMOCRACY BUILDING
Tibet Justice Center has provided key support to the advocacy of the Government-in-Exile before the United Nations and individual governments, and the work of Tibet support groups around the world. We helped establish the Tibet Bureau in Geneva, the main base for the Tibetans' U.N. work, and today we help prepare the Government-in-Exile's major position papers on human rights issues for submission to U.N. bodies. These have recently included briefs on Women's Rights, Torture, and Racism. We also regularly draft shorter "interventions" for the Commission on Human Rights and for other U.N. bodies. You can access these papers through our Reports section.
We also participate in major U.N. Conferences, such as the 4th World Conference on Women and the Habitat Conference. We take special pride in having helped train Tibetans to be their own best advocates.
Since 1998, we have conducted our own fact-finding missions in order to go behind the reports of religious persecution and political imprisonment and learn what life is like for most Tibetans under Chinese rule. Using teams of lawyers and psychologists, we have interviewed Tibetan refugees, prepared reports, and brought the information to the U.N., governments, non-governmental organizations, and to the public.
II. ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT
Since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1949, the Tibetan Plateau has endured widespread environmental degradation. While we acknowledge that the Chinese government has instituted several important environmental protection measures, we remain extremely concerned about the Chinese governments inattention to the environmental and development concerns of the Tibetan people. Not only has Tibet’s environment been seriously damaged since the Chinese occupation, but the environmental damage has occurred in tandem with human rights abuses, the stripping of political and cultural rights, and the overall marginalization of the Tibetan people within their own homeland.
Tibet Justice Center is working to promote sustainable development and protection of Tibet's environment. Our current focus is protecting Tibet's watersheds -- watersheds that give rise to ten of Asia's major river systems and affect over one billion people in the region, and on training Tibetans in environmental policy and advocacy.
III. Asylum and Immigration
Tibet Justice Center's Asylum and Immigration Project manages a clearinghouse of information and materials for Tibetans and attorneys representing Tibetans in asylum matters. The Project maintains a list of agencies through which Tibetans seeking asylum can obtain legal assistance and possibly secure low cost or pro bono legal representation. The Project also provides sample asylum briefs, client affidavits and specialized information regarding the conditions for Tibetans in Tibet, Nepal and India to attorneys representing Tibetans.
Tibet Justice Center can provide, whenever possible, expert affidavits on country conditions in Tibet and conditions for Tibetan refugees in India or Nepal for individual asylum cases.
Go to Asylum and Immigration Project Home Page to access a host of resources on the asylum process, sample briefs for Tibetan asylum seekers, our policy on expert work, and other resources.
IV. Democracy Building
Assisting the Tibetan Government in Exile to Develop Democratic Institutions: In 1998, at the request of the TGIE, we began a multi-year training program of Tibetan legislative counsel. This program is now complete and new legislative counsel began serving the TGIE in the summer of 2003. In 1998, we sponsored a visit to the U.S. by the Chief Justice of the Tibetan Judiciary to familiarize both Tibetans and American lawyers and jurists on how aspects of the Anglo-American system might contribute positively to the administration of civil and criminal justice in Tibetan institutions. In 1997, at the request of the TGIE, we assisted in rewriting the Tibetan Constitution for internal consistency and consistency with Indian law (the host country of the Tibetan government).
Models for Self-Governance: In late 2004, we will complete the first-ever study of 35 existing models around the world in which a people has gained some form of self-governance within the framework of a state. This study, Forms of Autonomy, will be published in early 2005. The study will provide a valuable resource for peoples and governments throughout the world who are interested in resolving conflicts nonviolently through negotiated autonomy arrangements.
Self-Governance Education: As an outgrowth of preparing Forms of Autonomy, the TGIE has asked us to educate the Tibetan exile communities about issues of self-governance and self-determination. In 2000, we helped train Tibetan educators and settlement officers to educate their communities and generate discussion about these issues. A second round of training with Tibetan Parliamentarians, settlement officers, students and NGO leaders took place in 2002.