By Tendar Tsering
Kalon Tripa holding a meeting with British Parliamentarians, in London, on November 30, 2011.
DHARAMSHALA, December 4: Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay returned to India after a whirlwind diplomatic tour of Europe Friday.
On his first tour of Europe as the democratically elected head of the Tibetan exile administration, the 43-year old Dr Sangay toured seven countries - Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, France, Belgium and UK over the past twelve days.
During the tour, Dr Sangay met with senior leaders, including officials from the respective foreign offices as well as members of parliaments and interacted with the Tibetan public as well the media.
Following Dr Sangay’s address at the Tibet Intergroup Conference on Genuine Autonomy in the European Parliament where he was the key note speaker and his speech at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament at its extraordinary meeting on November 29, the European Foreign Policy Chief Baroness Catherine Ashton made a strong statement about the critical human rights situation inside Tibet.
“The fact that so many Tibetan monks have chosen to take such tragic steps demonstrates the profound and continuing depth of feeling among many Tibetans that their rights are not being respected,” Ashton said in the statement.
“[The EU] urges [the Chinese authorities] to address the root causes of the self-immolations – in particular the lack of genuine participation by the Tibetan population in the development policy of the region –and to enter into a meaningful dialogue with representatives of the Tibetan minority," the EU Foreign Policy Chief added.
Elsewhere in the UK parliament, responding to a question on the British government’s actions concerning the deteriorating human rights situation inside Tibet, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that his government has already raised the recent spate of self-immolation cases with the Chinese Foreign Minister and the Chinese Ambassador to London.
Foreign Secretary Hague said on the floor of the house that the British government strongly urges China to begin “meaningful dialogue” with the representatives of the Dalai Lama.
“We always call for respect for human rights,” added the Hague.
On the last leg of his tour, Dr Sangay met with officials of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and held separate parley with 12 British MPs in the Westminster, the UK Parliament.