The 80-plus Tibetans, together with ICT Europe and TSG Netherlands staff, had earlier presented a petition to Mrs. R. Verdonk, Dutch Minister for Immigration and Integration, requesting the Dutch government grant residence to some 120 Tibetan asylum seekers currently in The Netherlands.
In recent months, the Dutch government has rejected the applications of a number of Tibetan asylum seekers, believing that Tibet is part of China and the situation there does not warrant the Netherlands’ government granting these persons protection. Many of the asylum seekers have been awaiting a decision about their residency status for over two years.
The petition was critical of the Dutch government’s position and argued that Tibet is not safe for Tibetans who are forcefully returned to the Chinese authorities. It called on the Dutch government to follow the example of countries such as Switzerland, the United States and Canada in granting asylum for Tibetan refugees.
The petition also called for the Dutch government to work more closely with NGOs, such as ICT Europe, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, to be better informed about the situation in Tibet and the consequences of sending the Tibetans back to Chinese-controlled Tibet.