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US-House-congressDharamshala — The Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamshala, India strongly praised the US Senate and the House of Representatives for unanimously passing resolutions in support for Tibet and the political movement of Tibetan people.

Just days after the largest gathering of Tibetans in the western hemisphere at New York on 6 July attended by President Obama's envoy Valerie Jarrett and Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both Houses of the United States Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously passed resolutions of support for Tibet and the Tibetan people.

"This was a major show of support and solidarity by the US government giving a huge boost to the Tibetan political movement," said a report by the Tibetan administration media.

"It was also the first time in the history of Tibetan struggle that an official US House resolution specifically mentioned the term 'Central Tibetan Administration' and 'Sikyong'," the report said, adding that "It was again the first US resolution expressing support to Tibetan democracy and the vibrant culture of Tibetan democratic practices to choose its leadership in exile."

The senate resolution on Tibet was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein on 11 June 2015. The resolution extends well wishes to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday and recognises his lifelong commitment and contribution to the promotion of nonviolence, human rights, religious tolerance, environmental awareness and democracy.

The resolution also lauded His Holiness the Dalai Lama for using moral authority to promote the concept of universal responsibility as a guiding tenet for how human beings should treat one another and the planet.

The resolution was passed in the Senate without any amendment and with a preamble by unanimous consent on 08 July 2015.

The House resolution on Tibet was introduced by Representative Eliot L. Engel on 24 June 2015. The House resolution called on the U.S. government to implement specified sections of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 to encourage representatives of the government of China and His Holiness the Dalai Lama to hold substantive dialogue to secure a negotiated agreement for the Tibetan people; and establish a consular office in Lhasa, Tibet, to monitor political, economic and cultural developments in Tibet, and to provide consular protection and citizen services.

It also urged the U.S. government to raise Tibetan human rights and political and religious freedom concerns at the United States-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and other high-level bilateral meetings; and called for the release of Tibetan political prisoners, including Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama, late Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, and Khenpo Kartse (Khenpo Karma Tsewang).

It further called on the U.S. government to underscore that Chinese government interference in the Tibetan reincarnation process is a violation of the internationally recognised right to religious freedom, and that matters related to reincarnations in Tibetan Buddhism are of keen interest to Tibetan Buddhist populations worldwide.

The resolution urged increased global awareness and monitoring of the upcoming electoral process through which the Tibetan people in exile will choose the next leader of the Central Tibetan Administration, the Sikyong, and encourage development organisations and agencies to implement development projects that fully comply with the Tibet Project Principles.

It also called on the United States and other international governments and organisations to promote the preservation of Tibet's religious, cultural, linguistic, and national identity and urged China to allow U.S. officials, journalists, and citizens unrestricted access to the Tibetan areas of China.

It expressed support to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's desire for a negotiated agreement for the Tibetan people and reaffirmed the friendship between the people of the United States and the people of Tibet.

Another bill was also introduced in early June this year by US Congressmen Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). They reintroduced the Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act, a bill calling for Tibetan immigration to the US on 4 June 2015 in the US House of Representatives.

The immigration bill, currently being referred to at the subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, if passed could pave the way for 3000 Tibetans to immigrate to the US over a three-year period.

The two congressmen have stated that this bill is a timely expression of American support for the Tibetan people as they struggle for religious and cultural freedom.

They also described the bill as "a small but useful step in the right direction" necessary to aid the Tibetan people. "The devastation of the recent earthquake in Nepal, coupled with decades of persecution at the hands of the Chinese government make it all the more necessary for displaced Tibetans to be recognized by the United States for refugee assistance and afforded protection under U.S. law," they have said.

Earlier in May 2013, US lawmakers debating a landmark immigration bill approved the provision of 5,000 visas to Tibetan refugees to enter the United States over the next three years.

Citing "terrible" and increasing oppression by Chinese authorities against Tibetans, Senators offered the matter as an amendment to the vast legislation aimed at fixing the US immigration system. However, immigration reform is a highly contentious issue in the US and it is possible that there may not be an agreement on a final bill.

Nevertheless, with the passing and introduction of these resolutions on Tibet, the US government has reassured its steadfast commitment to uphold the principles of equality and justice, and raise its voice for Tibet and the Tibetan people.

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