The International Campaign for Tibet welcomes today’s announcement from the White House of a meeting between President Obama and His Holiness the Dalai Lama tomorrow, July 16, 2011. ICT appreciates the White House acknowledging the importance of a direct discussion between President Obama and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the strong voices in Congress in support of this meeting.

President Obama meets the Dalai Lama as Tibetans across Tibet are suffering the effects of a pervasive security crackdown in response to demonstrations for the return of the Dalai Lama and an end to repressive measures that suppress the free expression of their Tibetan identity.

The meeting between the two Nobel Peace Laureates, each recognized for his commitment to strengthen human rights and cooperation between peoples, gives hope to those who take great risks in oppressive circumstances to come together, share opinions and demand justice and accountability from their governments.

The Dalai Lama concludes his 10-day visit to Washington, D.C. where he has been presiding over a Buddhist teaching on the morning of July 17. During his time in Washington, His Holiness met with Speaker of the House John Boehner, Democratic Leader Pelosi, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as other officials and dignitaries.

This will be the second meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama at the White House and reflects America’s long history with Tibet and its leadership role in promoting the fundamental human rights and unique linguistic, cultural and religious identity of the Tibetan people. This meeting is an opportunity to deepen the relationship between the American and Tibetan peoples and for the President to reaffirm U.S. support for Tibetan issues, including the Dalai Lama’s efforts to reengage the Chinese government in meaningful dialogue on genuine autonomy for Tibetans within the People’s Republic of China.