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Eu-Parliament-2012Dharamshala: The final debate in the European Parliament's plenary session on Tuesday the 12th of June was the current situation in Tibet. The European Union (EU) has expressed a concern with the growing unrest and the frequency of cases of self-immolation in the past few months. This has come under the EU radar mainly because of the closure of Lhasa to tourists and foreigners.

Lady Ashton, Vice-President of the European Commission of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy made a statement with regard to the self-immolations. She revealed that the EU was very concerned about the arrests and detentions which have been taking place in the TAR area, moreover the incarceration of many eminent Tibetans.

She said that the commission has become worried over the settlement policy of the Tibetan nomads. The commission has felt the traditional culture of Tibet diminish with these resettlement issues caused by the governing body of the TAR. "We are concerned by the compulsory resettlement of all nomads which has the potential to destroy the distinctive Tibetan culture and identity."

She further stated that the compulsory usage of Mandarin as the medium of instruction in schools would be extremely detrimental against preserving the Tibetan language.

The commission in a statement to Chinese authorities urged a need to respect the Tibetans and their cultural practices, as well as a need to maintain good Sino-Tibetan relations

Following these statements by the Commission, Thomas Mann, President of the Tibet Intergroup in the European Parliament said that the EU should have a spokesperson for Tibetan affairs. He wished that from these discussions, support could be drawn from the rest of the Union.

MEP Kristina Ojuland said that the EU council on human rights should try move from rhetoric and dialogue to a genuine commitment within the Tibetan issue. She made suggestions that special posts should be appointed in order to create constructive dialogue with the Peoples Republic of China and the Central Tibetan Administration.

MEP Ana Gomes was more critical of China and felt as it was a permanent member of the UN Security Council it was duty bound to respect the human rights of the people of Tibet. She felt that the closure of Tibet to outsiders was a reflection of China's continuing poor policy on Tibet. She raised the issues of the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama and the political climate within Tibet.

MEP Eva Lichtenberger did not take an aggressive stand however she touched upon the worsening condition of the Tibetan people and the aggressive retorts by the Chinese when they were under any international pressure. The resettlement of the Tibetan nomads not only had a political ramification but an ecological impact as well.

The plenary session concluded after the words of their members. The High Representative thanked its members and has decided to raise the issue at all important political forums where the issue would be applicable.

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