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Eiropa un Tibēta

The European Parliament has been at the forefront of any EU initiative supporting the Tibetan cause and the non-violent struggle of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It has consistently advocated for a peaceful resolution of the divergences between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government through dialogue, and for the establishment of a true, genuine autonomy for Tibet, thus allowing Tibetans to have religious and cultural freedom.

In 1988, the European Parliament became the first parliament in Europe to allow the Tibetan spiritual leader to address an official meeting on Tibet, despite strong protests from the Chinese government. On 15 June, a year after he presented a Five-Point Peace Plan for the restoration of peace and human rights in Tibet at the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus in Washington, D.C, the Dalai Lama was invited for the first time to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where he elaborated on this plan, proposing a concrete framework of negotiations and the creation of a self-governing democratic Tibet “in association with the People’s Republic of China”.

Since then, the European Parliament has been a crucial platform to discuss Tibet issues and promote the respect for the human rights of Tibetans - including their right to preserve their unique identity and religious and cultural traditions - and support constructive dialogue between the government of the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama’s envoys. The Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate – who stepped down from his political role in favor of an elected leader-in-exile in 2011 - has been invited to address the parliament a number of times, including in 1996, 2001, 2008 and most recently in September 2016; despite Chinese pressure on the EU to prevent these meetings, he held discussions with European Parliament President Martin Schulz and members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, to whom he reaffirmed his strong admiration for the European Union. 
Hearings, exhibitions and conferences on Tibet have also been regularly held in the European Parliament both in Strasbourg and Brussels, often at the initiative of dedicated MEPs and members of the Tibet Intergroup. In March 2016, the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), for example, invited Golog Jigme – a Tibetan monk jailed three times between 2008 and 2012 for involvement in the documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind” before escaping to India - to testify about the torture he was subjected to in custody and pressure the EU to challenge China’s oppressive policies in Tibet. In January 2018, Lobsang Sangay, President of the Tibetan government in exile, was also heard in DROI, where he urged the EU to support the “Middle Way Approach”, which calls for genuine autonomy for Tibet under the sovereignty of the PRC. And in November that year, a conference on the issue of lack of access to Tibet and reciprocity in EU-China relations organized by the International Campaign for Tibet was hosted in the European Parliament in Brussels by Vice-President of the DROI Committee Cristian Dan Preda and Chairman of the TIG Thomas Mann.

In the past 30 years, the European Parliament has passed over 50 resolutions on Tibet - and on China or on human rights, including Tibet. Some of these resolutions have raised concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet (including restrictions on religious freedom, repression of the 2008 uprising, self-immolations, the undermining of the Tibetan language...), while others focused on the EU’s policy on Tibet or specific individual cases (such as the Panchen Lama in 1995, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche in 2002 or Tashi Wangchuk and the monk Choekyi in 2018). Many of the resolutions also called for the continuation - or since 2010 the resumption - of the dialogue between the Chinese government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama. 
In addition to these Tibet/China-specific resolutions, concerns about the situation in Tibet have also been included in other more general work of the European Parliament, such as its annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World or reports on the state of EU-China relations. 

Click here for a list of the main resolutions of the European Parliament on Tibet 

The European Parliament’s Tibet Intergroup

If the European Parliament has become the main base of support for Tibet within the European Union, it is largely because of the efforts of the Tibet Intergroup (TIG), whose committed members have done much to provide practical help and concrete support for a peaceful and just future for the Tibetans.

Intergroups are unofficial groupings of Members of the European Parliament formed in view of holding informal exchanges on specific topics and promoting contact between Members and civil society. To be established, an intergroup needs the support of at least three political groups.

The Tibet Intergroup was first established at the beginning of the third legislature in 1989, making it one of the institution’s oldest intergroups. Its founder French MEP Michel Hervé presented three basic objectives of the TIG, which still determine its work today: (i) to create opportunities for informal discussion amongst MEPs who are interested in the situation in Tibet; (ii) to provide information on the subject for parliamentary and political colleagues and the public in general; and (iii) to encourage various forms of political action by the EU.

Thanks to the Tibet intergroup and its committed members, the European Parliament has: 

  • Adopted resolutions on Tibet  
  • Held hearings and debates in the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) and the Human Rights Sub-Committee (DROI)  
  • Organized exhibition, conferences, film screening on Tibet  
  • Included Tibet in several annual reports  
  • Submitted parliamentary questions on the situation in Tibet to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security 
  • Sent MEPs delegations to Dharamshala, India 
    The re-establishment of the TIG after the 2024 European election is crucial, as this body is essential in ensuring that Tibet remains a high priority on the agenda of the European Parliament! 

EU4TIBET is a campaign led jointly by the Tibet Interest Group of the European Parliament, the International Campaign for Tibet and the Office of Tibet Brussels, with the significant support of the International Tibet Network, Tibet Support Groups and Tibetan Communities in Europe.