Group 22

Click on an item to go directly to that page:


Upcoming Events


Newsletter (PDF)

Eritrea Prisoner of Conscience:
Estifanos Seyoum

Death Penalty

Rights Readers: Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Bookgroup Blog

Tibetan Prayer Flag Project
Remembering Tiananmen

S. Cal. Cluster

Contact Us!

The Prayer Flag Project
in honor of the Drepung Printing Group


The Drepung Printing Group
and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Fifteen years ago, several monks at Drepung monastery near Lhasa formed the Drepung printing group. The group secretly produced literature criticizing the Chinese occupation of Tibet and were discovered by the Chinese authorities in April 1989. Their first publication was a Tibetan translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). They also produced pro-independence leaflets which were designed to be stuck on walls in Lhasa. The most important document produced by the group is the first Tibetan political manifesto calling for a democratic system based on Buddhist tradition. These monks were arrested and given harsh prison sentences, as long as nineteen years, for their activities. (See the attached action for Ngawang Gyaltsen)

The Drepung Printing Group can't get the word out about human rights and the Universal Declaration but you can speak for them! Use the accompanying action for Ngawang Gyaltsen and let people know about the UDHR through prayer flags made in their honor.



Traditional Tibetan prayer flags are colorful squares of fabric with Buddhist symbols and sutras printed on them. These are strung together and hung outside temples and homes.

On this page we've included some of the prayer flags made by children in Pasadena.



Materials: paper, string, tape or stapler, markers, crayons or paints. Optional: collage materials such as old magazines or newspapers, campaign actions, other old AI materials.

How-to: Use colorful pieces of paper. Decorate. Leave a small margin at the top and you can fold it over a piece of twine or string and tape or staple to form your string of flags, or use a paper punch and string your twine through. Below are some suggestions for decorating your flags.

For more ambitious and longer lasting flags, you can make them from scraps of cloth and use fabric paints to decorate.

UDHR FLAGS: Assign participants an article from the plain language version of the Universal Declaration and ask them to illustrate it with stick figures. You can preprint the simplified article on the flags to speed things up.

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENDERS FLAGS: Visit the Just Earth! section of Amnesty-USA's website and learn about environmentalists underfire for speaking out about in defense of the earth. Decorate flags illustrating environmental and human rights concerns around the globe.

DREPUNG FLAGS: Like the Defenders Flags but incorporate the action materials about Drepung monks like Ngawang Gyaltsen or other Tibetan prisoners of conscience.

LITERARY FLAGS: Ask participants to bring a favorite quote or poem to a meeting. Incorporate these into your chain of flags.

CHILDREN'S FLAGS: For young children, intersperse the children's pictures with a simplified text of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. (See "Human Rights for Children" Hatch, et al).

ACTION FILE FLAGS: Group 22 made prayer flags for it's Tibetan POC action file. Besides "Free Ngawang Pekar" the flags included other human rights slogans and symbols as well as Tibetan cultural motifs. Your action file doesn't have to be Tibetan to do this!

PRAYER PRAYER FLAGS: If you are doing outreach to a religious organization, ask participants to write real prayers for their human rights concerns here and abroad on the flags

COMMUNITY FESTIVAL FLAGS: At a community gathering match the UDHR article on the flag to the concerns of a particular community group.

MIX AND MATCH: Use an assortment of all of the above ideas.

The more flags the better! Have fun!



Display your flags at your school or community event. Use the Drepung actions and explain that you created the flags in their honor. This is also a great workshop activity and it works with all ages.

To celebrate, our group took all the colorful flags and hung them up in the local library for all to see....

Feedback: Take pictures of your event and share with us - tell us how this worked for you. For more information, to request petitions or postcards for Ngawang Gyaltsen please contact:

Martha Ter Maat

Back to AI Group 22 home page

Back to AI Kids