By Tenzin Monlam
The delegation pose for media
DHARAMSHALA, August 9: In a welcoming move for Tibetan travellers holding the Indian government issued travel document, the Italian government last week confirmed the ‘right of Tibetan refugees to travel to Italy’ following a appeal by a delegation comprising of Prof. Chodup Tchiring Lama of Tibetan Community in Italy, Dr. Claudio Cardelli of Italy-Tibet Association, Matteo Mecacci of International Campaign For Tibet and Avv. Giorgio Raspa of Buddhist Italian Union.
IC is travel document issued by the Indian government to Tibetan refugees in India.
The issue came to light following a notice from the Italian Consulate in Mumbai on its website on May 18 stating IC as an invalid document for applying for a visa. However, the government stated that the notice has been removed from the site as ‘incorrect’, referring to it as a ‘bad episode’ the government assured that it wouldn’t be repeated.
In response to the parliamentary question submitted by Italian Senator Francesco Palermo on the failure to grant entry visas to Tibetan refugees in India, Under-Secretary Benedetto Della Vedova said, “There have been no regulatory changes for over ten years in the position regarding visas for Tibetans bearing the IC issued by the Indian authorities.”
The delegation said in a press release, “The Government only partially admitted that deeply alarming and inaccurate information had been published by the Italian consulates in India considering documents held by Tibetan refugees unsuitable for traveling to Italy.”
Under-Secretary Vedova in his clarification ‘categorically denied that there had been any kind of pressure from the People’s Republic of China.’
“We take note of the reasons presented by the government to justify how the episode took place and we are satisfied with the positive outcome for Tibetans in India who will now be able to apply for a visa for our country more safely,” the delegation said adding that they would continue to monitor the situation.
Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama is scheduled to tour Italy for six-days from September 16-21 during his 20-days Europe visit next month.