In a groundswell of support, over 100 candidates from 16 European Union countries committed to supporting the Tibetan people in the European Parliament ahead of the recent 2024 European elections, which took place in early June. About 25 of these candidates were elected.

As part of EU4Tibet, a Europe-wide campaign, candidates were asked to sign a pledge for Tibet committing to support the Tibetan people in the European Parliament if elected. EU4Tibet was jointly led by the Office of Tibet Brussels, the Tibet Interest Group of the European Parliament and the International Campaign for Tibet, with the significant support of the Offices of Tibet in Geneva and London, the International Tibet Network, Tibet Support Groups, V-TAG (Voluntary Tibet Advocacy group) members and Tibetan Communities in Europe.

Rigzin Genkhang, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Brussels said: “In view of China’s relentless attacks on the fundamental rights of Tibetans in Tibet, it is crucial that the new Parliament reaffirms and redoubles its support for the non-violent freedom struggle of the Tibetan people. It can do so by prioritizing the re-establishment of the Tibet Intergroup, which is pivotal in ensuring that Tibet remains a priority for the European Parliament.”

Pledging to support Tibet

A total of 115 candidates signed the pledge and committed to defending the EU against China’s threats to security and interference in European democracies, including the transnational repression of Tibetans living in Europe.

They also pledged to promote the principles and values upon which the European Union is founded, such as respect for human rights, the rule of law, democracy, and cultural diversity, and to support the Tibetan people in their peaceful freedom struggle against Chinese repression.

In addition, several political parties responded to a questionnaire, taking a stand on a number of Tibet-related issues. Their answers are available on the campaign website.

Wangpo Tethong, Executive Director of ICT Europe said: “The role of the newly elected Members of the European Parliament is crucial in ensuring that support for Tibet remains strong within European institutions. Their commitment will help keep Tibet on the EU political agenda and advocate for the rights and freedoms of the Tibetan people.”

The European Parliament and Tibet

The European Parliament has been a leading force in supporting the Tibetan cause, including the Dalai Lama’s proposal of a nonviolent resolution to the Tibet issue.

The European Parliament will hold its first plenary session mid-July. In September, the International Campaign for Tibet will organize a Tibet Empowerment program in Brussels featuring participants from several European countries and meetings with newly-elected members of the European Parliament.

One of the commitments made by candidates who signed the pledge for Tibet is to “actively support the re-establishment of the European Parliament’s Tibet Intergroup, first created in 1989, and to become active members.”

The Tibet Intergroup, established at the beginning of the European Parliament’s third legislature in 1989, is one of the institution’s oldest intergroups. Re-establishing this cross-party group will therefore be a key objective for the Tibet movement this year, providing a vital platform for coordination and support for Tibet within the European Union.

The organizers of the campaign would like to express their deepest recognition and gratitude to Mr. Peksa, the last chair of the Tibet Interest Group. His commitment and support have been instrumental in maintaining the focus on Tibetan issues during the last mandate of the European Parliament.

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