On December 14, Mr. Thomas Mann, MEP, announced the re-establishment of the European Parliament’s Intergroup for Tibet after gaining the support of 120 MEPs and three of the party groups in the new parliament. This was a particularly important seal of approval for the group, as the number of proposed intergroups had increased enormously following the enlargement of the European Union in May 2004.
“The re-establishment of the Tibet Intergroup has been confirmed. This is a great success for Tibetan people and the engagement for their cultural and religious rights in the European Parliament”, said Mr Mann, president of the Tibet Intergroup.
The European Parliament is the main base of support for Tibet within the European Union, largely as a result of various efforts made by the Intergroup. Their efforts have cast a spotlight on China’s ongoing repression of Tibet and its people and have done much within the European political realm to provide practical help and support for a peaceful and just future for the Tibetans.
Ms Tsering Jampa, Executive Director of The International Campaign for Tibet, Europe said, “ICT Europe has a longstanding and close cooperation with the Intergroup of the European Parliament. This news is clear recognition of the seriousness of the Tibetan issue and the parliament’s continued support for the non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people”.
“The Intergroup ensures a continued and balanced dialogue on the future of Tibet and its relations with the Chinese government. With China’s growing international presence, now more than ever there is a need for this group to highlight the importance of serious and sincere dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the PRC to find a common ground on Tibet’s future”, Jampa said.
The Intergroup for Tibet was first established in 1989 and since that time has been active in highlighting Tibetan issues to both parliament and public. Major events have been:
- Enabling the Dalai Lama to address the European Parliament twice
- Passing almost 30 resolutions on Tibet’s status and the protection of human rights and culture in Tibet
- Passing resolutions and budget amendments for an EU Special Representative for Tibet
As recently as November, the new parliament voted 572 against lifting the arms embargo on China, versus 72 MEPs voting in favor and tabled a resolution calling for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a popular Tibetan monk sentenced to death by Chinese authorities, showing the level of commitment with which MEPs are following developments in China and Tibet.