Dharamshala — A delegation of the United States' State Department visited the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala, meeting with Parliament in Exile Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, and solidifying its support of Tibetans.
The delegation that visited on Thursday April 26 included Jennifer Cole, Program Officer of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. State Department, Alex Ave-Lallemant, Regional Refugee Coordinator of the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, Pema Tenzin, Refugee Program Assistant of the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, and Kelsang Dorjee Aukatsang, Chief Resilience Officer of the CTA.
The delegation was given a tour of the Tibetan Parliamentary Hall, and introduced to the composition and the functions of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. Meeting with Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, the Speaker greeted them and welcomed them to the Parliamentary Secretariat, expressing his gratitude on behalf of all the Tibetans for their "steady aids in the facilitation of various life-sustaining amenities."
The Speaker also briefed them on the situations inside Tibet, in particular about the dwindling number of monks and nuns in monasteries within the three provinces of Tibet under the repressive polices adopted by the Chinese government. Citing the invasive policies by the Chinese government, he said, “It was relatively little more relaxed in the mid 1980s. However, after 1997, the Chinese policies became more stringent and repressive. For instance, in some monasteries, instead of allowing the newly identified ‘tulku’ to follow the traditional monastic education, they were compelled to attend regular schools under the official decree by the Chinese government.”
The Speaker continued, “Our Parliament being established in exile is extraordinary in itself. It plays different roles. In particular, Tibetan Parliament liaise with the members of parliaments from different parts of the world and partakes in the political activities of advocating Tibet’s issue and Tibetan struggle movement all over the world. For instance, delegation of our parliament meets with members of parliament from different parts of the world and elucidate them on the Tibet’s issues. The parliamentarians also visit Tibetan settlements in India, Nepal and Bhutan periodically to assess grievances of the general Tibetan public and apprise the same to the concerned department under the Kashag thereafter."
Responding to a question about the issues faced in Tibetan settlements, the Speaker stated that there is a drop in the number of youth staying in the Tibetan settlements as well as Tibetan residents engaging in the agrarian activities, however, there is a steady progress in terms of education and health of the general Tibetan public.
"In early days of our exile, the literate Tibetans were mostly from the clergy class as they had formal monastic education and majority of the lay Tibetans were illiterate. However, the younger Tibetan generations now are mostly literate and brought up studying modern education. The pattern of migration of the Tibetan youths from the settlements to the nearby urban areas or overseas owes to the lack of economical sustenance and limited opportunities. So, lots of issues has been raised on how to reverse this kinds of migrations," he added.