Tibetan Monks Have Been On A Hunger Strike For More Than Three Weeks Outside The U.N.

03/16/2012 4:12 PM |


  • C.S. Muncy/village voice

This Friday is the 23rd day three Tibetan monks have been hunger striking outside the United Nations in New York City, the Village Voice reports.

The hunger strikers are asking that the U.N. address a five-point appeal that involves sending a human rights delegation to investigate abuses in Tibet, as well as putting pressure on China to allow foreign journalists across the border. According to Tsewang Rigzin, president of The Tibetan Youth Congress, “Come rain, wind or NYPD, the hunger strikers are not deterred and ready to go on until UN hears them,” the Tibet Post reports.

In 2012 alone, 14 people have taken their lives by self-immolation to protest China’s repressive policies in Tibet, according to the Huffington Post. Meanwhile, the three monks, Rinpoche Shingza, Dorjee Gyalpo and Yeshi Tenzing are growing weaker by the day, and can no longer move freely without wheelchairs. One of the strikers has already lost 31 pounds, the Voice reports.

While the amount of time a person can live without consuming food is variable, some experts say a person can possibly live up to two months in total starvation. Some hunger strikers, like those in Northern Ireland’s 1981 protests, have died in a period of time between 46 and 73 days without food. Mahatma Gandhi is known for surviving a 21-day fast, subsisting only on water.

On Tuesday, U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, met with Tsewang Rigzin and submitted a petition to the U.N.’s offices in Geneva, according to the Huffington Post.

“Mr Simonovic officially received me and assured me that he would bring our five-point appeal to the attention of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights,” Rigzin told HuffPo. “I described the situation inside Tibet and we discussed the three hunger strikers’ conditions. He was genuinely concerned.”

[Village Voice]

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