Dalai Lama calls for ‘universal responsibility’ on Earth Day

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures as he speaks to members of the press at his residence in McLeod Ganj, India, on 25 October 2019.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures as he speaks to members of the press at his residence in McLeod Ganj, India, on 25 October 2019. File photo/Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

AFP

ON THE WEB, 22 April 2020

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama called for people around the world on Wednesday to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic through a “genuine sense of universal responsibility”.

“In the midst of this struggle, we are reminded of the value of compassion and mutual support,” he wrote in a statement to mark Earth Day.

“The current global pandemic threatens us all, without distinctions of race, culture or gender, and our response must be as one humanity, providing for the most essential needs of all.”

The 84-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner said that we must “ensure that the sick and the valiant health-care providers throughout the world have access to the fundamental necessities of clean water and proper sanitation to prevent the uncontrolled spread of disease. Hygiene is one of the bases of effective health care.”

The Dalai Lama has made India his home since fleeing Tibet in 1959, and resides in Dharamshala in the north of the country.

In February he marked the 80th anniversary of his enthronement as the spiritual leader of Tibet, a position held almost entirely in exile and as a target of constant vilification by the Chinese state.

He remains the universally recognised face of the movement for Tibetan autonomy, but the global spotlight he enjoyed after winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 has dimmed and the deluge of invitations to hobnob with world leaders and Hollywood stars has slowed.

This is partly because the ageing leader has cut back on his punishing travel schedule, but also due to China’s growing economic and political clout.

Beijing accuses him of wanting to split China, and regularly refers to him as a “wolf in a monk’s robe”.


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