TIG Meeting February 2016 with Wangpo Tethong

The regular monthly meeting of the TIG was held on Tuesday 16th February at 17.00h in the European Parliament. We welcomed Wangpo Tethong, member of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile representative for Tibetans in Europe as guest speaker.


MEP Tunne KELAM on the EU-China relations report:
Tunne Kelam
• The Tibetans should be supported in defending their cultural identity, even if this is expressed through peaceful protests in China.
• The report is a symbol and a reminder of the engagement of the European Union and especially of the European Parliament concerning the treatment of minorities in China.
• The report criticises the recently adopted law on counter-terrorism, which will mainly be used for further suppression of Tibetans and other minorities in China.
• MEP Tunne Kelam recommends spreading the report’s results and the mentioned human rights violations by the Chinese government to the national parliaments within the European Union. National parliaments are not enough informed about the EPs human rights work.
• The main goal of the EU-China relations report is to make an impact on China’s minority treatment and reach a commitment to respect human rights.
Wangpo Tethong
• Radio news channels are a major information distributor for EP work results. Additionally, organisations like “Free Asia” support to create awareness of EU actions.

Wangpo Tethong (Member of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile) on the exile-parliament elections:
• In 2011 His Holiness the Dalai Lama resigned from all political duties and gave the full political power to the democratically elected political leaders (Sikyong). This was the legitimisation for Tibetan politicians to represent their people.
• The total electorate in Europe counts 15.000 Tibetans. The turnout in the first election-round in October 2015 was 60%.
• The main topics of debate are: China-Tibet relations, worldwide Tibetan refugees, unity of Tibetans-in-exile and the Tibetan education.
• European polling stations will be in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Austria and Scandinavia.
• For the Tibetan community this is a unique opportunity to participate in the political process.

MEP Thomas Mann on the Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM):
• The exile-parliament and Prime Minister elections take place on Sunday 20th March. The delegation mission will take place between Friday 18th March and Tuesday 22nd March.
• Participants in the Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM) 2016 are: Thomas Mann (MEP – President TIG), André Gattolin (French Senator), Consiglio Di Nino (Former Canadian Senator – Chair of Canada Tibet Committee), Norman Baker (Former British Senator – President Tibet Society), Zsuzsa-Anna Ferenczy (APA of László Tökés MEP), Matteo Mecacci (Former Italian MP – President ICT, USA), Bhuchung Tsering (Vice President ICT, USA).
• The mission includes visits of the polling stations as well as meetings with local officials and active NGOs on-site.