Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay with US Senator John McCain on May 9, 2013 in Washington DC.
DHARAMSHALA, May 21: The democratically elected head of the Tibetan people, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, today hailed the US Senate committee’s approval of a provision of 5000 visas to Tibetans as “a great boost” and “timely moral support” to Tibetans.
In a statement, the de facto
prime minister of Tibet, said the Tibet amendment to the wider immigration bill in the US will provide “a great boost to Tibetans and contribute to burden sharing of Tibetans in India and Nepal.”
“The passage of this provision provides a timely moral support to Tibetans as they struggle against a new wave of repressive Chinese policies, and represents a tangible continuation of the long-standing and bipartisan support of the United States for Tibet,” said Sikyong Sangay.
The US Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday approved the provision of 5,000 immigration visas to displaced Tibetans residing in India and Nepal by voice vote.
However, the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration also issued a strong word of caution to Tibetans, noting that the inclusion of the Tibet-related amendment in the US immigration bill is “only the first step” in a “long and possibly arduous process.”
“Firstly, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate must approve the immigration bill. The House of Representatives will be working on their own immigration bill. The two bills will then need to be reconciled. Lastly, immigration reform is a highly contentious issue and it is possible that there may not be an agreement on a final bill,” the Kashag (cabinet) said in the statement.
The exile Tibetan administration further noted that the new Tibetan immigration provision, if and when enacted, will help the CTA’s “efforts to find meaningful livelihoods and support the well being of displaced Tibetans who have fled Tibet into exile.”
“The Fourteenth Kashag has been vigorously seeking international governmental support for Tibet. Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay in his earlier and during his most recent visit to Washington on May 6-10 met with various Congressional leaders and their senior aides including Senators Feinstein, Leahy and Schumer,” the statement said.
“The Sikyong thanked the US government and Congress for supporting Tibet and the Tibetan people and discussed the status of Tibetan refugee settlements in South Asia and the challenges faced by the Central Tibetan Administration in providing educational and employment opportunities for Tibetan refugees.”