DHARAMSHALA: The Central Tibetan Administration held a felicitation ceremony in honour of a three-member European parliamentary delegation comprising of MEP Thomas Mann, MEP Csaba Sogor and MEP Ramon Tremosa at Gangchen Kyishong today. The visit is being facilitated by Representative Tashi Phuntsok, Office of Tibet, Brussels.
In his welcome remarks, CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay expressed his gratitude to the European Parliament and European Union for its relentless support towards the Tibet issue. He noted that the European Parliament has passed the most resolutions on Tibet issue and has been in the forefront through its Tibet Support Group initiatives and Tibet Interest Groups.
“As far as parliamentary resolutions are concerned, European Parliament has passed most resolutions on Tibet, perhaps ahead of United States also. For that, we are very grateful and we want to urge you to continue to pass more resolutions and extend your support for many years to come,” he said.
President Dr Sangay iterated His Holiness’ staunch admiration for the spirit of European Union. “After Brexit, His Holiness came out and said that EU should keep going because it is such a beautiful example of war-torn countries, after years of fight and killings, coming together to form a union,” he said.
“Hence His Holiness is the biggest admirer and advocate of EU when the EU is challenged from within and without”.
He mentioned that Tibetan administration is encouraged by the Parliamentary visit and the powerful voice it gives to the resilience of the Tibetan people.
“Your presence here means a lot. We are sending a message of hope to Tibetans inside Tibet. Tibet is under occupation, Tibetans are repressed, they are suffering and in prison and 152 Tibetans have committed self-immolation. They are hoping that someone will speak for them and stand for them. The fact that you flew from Europe to Dharamshala means a lot. It is a powerful message, a message of hope, justice, freedom and liberty,” said Dr Sangay.
He urged the MEPs and the European Parliament to officially support CTA’s Middle Way Policy and dialogue between the representatives of His Holiness and China for peaceful resolution of Tibet issue.
“So far White House is the only one that has supported the MWA policy of the Tibetan people; hopefully EU will follow suit and also support MWA and dialogue between envoys of Dalai Lama and Chinese rep to solve the issue of Tibet peacefully so that Tibetans will be granted genuine autonomy and His Holiness the Dalai Lama can return to his rightful place in Lhasa, capital city of Tibet”.
He also introduced Central Tibetan Administrations’ functionaries to the delegation, while hailing the Tibetan Administration as a thriving vibrant democracy in exile with the highest efficiency, accountability and transparency.
MEP Thomas Mann, chair of Tibet Interest Group in European Parliament, said, “In March 2016, I was here in Dharamshala as a member of International Election Observing Mission. I was very happy to be at the heart of Tibetan democracy. I saw the engagement of Tibetan people in establishing their own self-elected government and it has increased since many visits”.
Expressing solidarity with the Tibetan people, he hoped that the visit will reinforce the hope and trust of the Tibetan people in the European Union and Parliament. “In EU, we are the voice of human rights and nothing else. In European Parliament, we always have the opportunity to have clear resolutions with big majorities,” he said.
MEP Mann spoke in detail about the China Report which was introduced in EP last year, underlining the Middle Way Approach, reestablishment of dialogue between Tibetan and Chinese representatives, and called out China on climate change.
“We have also condemned the Chinese terrorist laws which legalises violation of rights by government forces against so-called potential terrorist. The European Parliament had a big majority in this case,” he added.
He concluded by saying, “We want to show our European solidarity to make it clear for your rights, language, culture and fair dealings. We are on your side, and we will never be silent”.
MEP Csaba Sogor, also a member of the Tibet Interest Group (TIG) in European Parliament said, “While fighting for human rights and minority rights inside EU, we will also fight for rights of other minutes and persons out of EU. That’s the reason why I am the co-chair of Ugyur Friendship Group, and as a member of Hong Kong, Taiwan Friendship Power. We try to convince China that if it wants to become a world power, then it should behave”.
Offering the example of US electing an African-American origin President after two centuries, he expressed hope that the Tibetan issue will also prevail and China will see a Tibetan president in the future.
Meanwhile, he advised Tibetan people to be prepared for changes unforeseen but dictated by sudden political situations.
MEP Ramon Tremosa, also a member of Tibet Interest Group in EP, in his address, drew numerous parallels between Tibetan and Catalonian people in terms of its unique language, culture, non-violence policy, also in the colour of its national flags. He further added that the Catalonian people can imbibe peaceful resistance from the Tibetan movement.
Deputy Speaker, on behalf of Tibetan Parliament, greeted the MEPs and expressed its gratitude for hosting Tibetan parliamentary delegation in Europe last year.