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assistants to MEPDharamshala — A cross-party delegation of assistants from the European Parliament held a Press Conference on May 25th during their five-day visit to Dharamshala, expressing their continued support for Tibet’s struggle for freedom.

Touring Dharamsala until May 26, the seven-member delegation said it aims to gain ‘firsthand experience and knowledge’ about Tibetan society in exile and the Tibetan struggle during its tour organized by the Office of Tibet, Brussels.

Opening the press conference was Rigzin Choeden Genkhang, EU Advocacy Officer, who began by saying, "We actually wanted them to experience and witness the functionality of the Central Tibetan Administration."

Crediting the newly-formed group of assistants to members of the European Parliament (MEP) for enabling several pro-Tibet activities in Brussels including the Resolution on Larung Gar, Nyima Lhamo’s hearing at the Human Rights Sub-Committee and the Conference on the Reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, Rigzin thanked the delegation for their continued support.

Gyongyver Forro, assistant to MEP Csaba Sogor from the European Peoples Party, said that as she met with the Tibetan Leaders, students from Tibetan institutions, representatives of NGOs and other cultural centers, she could see how ‘brave’ the Tibetan people were and their truly humble nature.

She admired the way Tibetans have preserved their tradition, culture and language, and said, “I also admire your peaceful patience how you are dealing with your struggle, which is not an easy struggle to remain peaceful,” Forro said, “The Middle Way Approach can only be reached through dialogue. In Europe, we were starting to lose patience but this visit put me to shame for nearly losing hope. So until you achieve your goal, I would like to promise our full support in any way.”

Harriet Clayton, assistant to Scott-Cato from Green group, said that her office took interest in Tibet with regards to the environmental degradation on the Tibetan Plateau. Surprised at the awareness of young Tibetans students on issues regarding the degradation of the environment, she said, “It was very inspirational to hear from the community leaders and students for taking awareness on such issues."

Francesco Giorgi, assistant to MEP Panzeri from Social and Democratic Group, described the Nobel Peace Prize as the common ground between Tibet and the EU and expressed his admiration for Tibet’s peaceful struggle.

“The persistence and endurance of Tibetans to keep the dream alive is a source of inspiration for all the western nations and we in the European Parliament will do our part to echo the cause,” Giorgi added.

Dalila Bernard, assistant to MEP Preda also from the European People’s Party, said that all the members of the delegation were committed to the cause of Tibet. “We mention Tibet whenever we get the chance,” she added, thanking the exile government and the Brussels office for making the visit possible, which has given them ‘new tools’ to work better for Tibetan cause.

“The main challenge for us is to make Tibet matter everyday. Many consider Tibet’s conflict as hopeless conflict, but we don’t,” said Bernard.

Several of the delegates had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his trip to Brussels last September. The group of Assistants was informally formed in 2016 by their mutual interest in the Tibet issue. Their dedication and hard work enables their MEPs to make meaningful and consistent support to Tibet.

Many of these MEPs are members of Tibet Interest Group (TIG) in the European Parliament. Due to their involvement, the Office of Tibet in Brussels has succeeded in making a high profile presence in the European Parliament and the European Union.

The seven-member delegation met with leadership in the Tibetan government, representatives of NGOs, Tibetan Schools, nunneries and other cultural centers. Many of them are visiting India and Tibetan institutions for the first time. The sole purpose of the visit is to facilitate the Parliamentary staff to obtain first-hand experience and knowledge about Tibetan people in India and their establishment, as an effort re-strengthen their commitment for Tibet. 

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