News and Views on Tibet

115 candidates for the European Parliament pledge to support Tibet

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Image/Europe for Tibet

By Tsering Dhundup

DHARAMSHALA, June 13: A total of 115 candidates from 16 EU member states have pledged to defend the fundamental freedom of the Tibetan people if elected to the European Parliament.

“Europe for Tibet” is an online campaign launched in the European Parliament on 9 April 2024 ahead of the 6-9 June European election. The counting of votes is underway, as of now 14 of 27 countries have finished counting. 

The joint online campaign was led by the Office of Tibet, Brussels, Tibet Interest Group of the European Parliament, and International Campaign for Tibet with the support of the Offices of Tibet in London and Geneva and International Tibet Network.

Representative Rigzin Genkhang of the Office of Tibet Brussels stated, “In view of China’s relentless attacks on the fundamental rights of Tibetans in Tibet, it is crucial that the new Parliament reaffirms and redoubles its support for the non-violent freedom struggle of the Tibetan people. It can do so by prioritising the re-establishment of the Tibet Intergroup, which is pivotal in ensuring that Tibet remains a priority for the European Parliament.” reported 

The European Parliament is a forum for political debate and decision-making at the EU level. The Members of the European Parliament are directly elected by voters in all Member States to represent people’s interests in EU law-making and to ensure that other EU institutions are working democratically. The Parliament acts as a co-legislator, sharing with the Council the power to adopt and amend legislative proposals and to decide on the EU budget. A total of 27 countries in Europe is part of the European Union.

The European Parliament has been an active supporter of the Tibetan cause and the Dalai Lama’s non-violent approach. It has advocated for dialogue to resolve differences between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government, pushing for autonomy in Tibet to safeguard religious and cultural freedoms.

In 1988, the European Parliament became the first parliament in Europe to allow the Tibetan spiritual leader to address an official meeting on Tibet, despite strong protests from the Chinese government. On 15 June, a year after he presented a Five-Point Peace Plan for the restoration of peace and human rights in Tibet at the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus in Washington, D.C, the Dalai Lama was invited for the first time to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where he elaborated on this plan, proposing a concrete framework of negotiations and the creation of a self-governing democratic Tibet “in association with the People’s Republic of China”.

Over the years, the European Parliament has raised awareness about Tibet’s human rights situation through hearings, exhibitions, and conferences. It has passed around 50 resolutions focusing on Tibet, human rights, and China, addressing issues like religious freedom restrictions and linguistic rights violations. 

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