By Rich Chang
Democratic Progressive Party caucus members call on the Cabinet to grant asylum to about 110 Tibetan refugees in Taipei yesterday. (PHOTO: CNA)
Taipei, Dec. 20: The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday asked the government to grant asylum to about 110 Tibetan refugees.
DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling told a press conference that the Tibetan refugees had endured much hardship, traveling across the Himalayas from Tibet to India or Nepal before reaching Taiwan.
They fled their motherland in search of religious and political freedom and to escape oppression by Chinese authorities, Kuan said.
She said most refugees had been in Taiwan for more than a year and that their residence permits had expired. Without legal status, she said, it was very difficult for them to find work.
They live in extreme poverty and are entirely dependent on relief from other Tibetans residing legally in the country, she said.
Kuan asked the government to abide by the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees and to grant the Tibetans asylum status and relief aid.
She said the caucus would submit bills to the Internal Administration Committee and legislative plenary session and ask that the Tibetans be granted asylum.
The caucus said it would also submit an amendment to the Immigration Act, asking the country to accept Tibetan refugees, she said.
DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin said that even though the Tibetans have held sit-ins at Liberty Square in front of National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall, the government has ignored their pleas.
Caring for international refugees is based on the principles of human rights, but the government has ignored the matter, Tien said.