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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

U.S. Ambassador Roemer inaugurates Tibetan Refugee Center in Dharamsala

March 12, 2011

International Campaign for Tibet
24 February, 2011

U.S. Ambassador to India, Timothy J. Roemer, today inaugurated a new
Tibetan Refugee Reception Center in Dharamsala, India, funded in part
through a Cooperative Agreement between the State Department and the
Tibet Fund, a U.S.-based non-government organization that works to
preserve the Tibetan identity in exile.

Ambassador Roemer, accompanied by Mrs. Roemer, was welcomed at the
center by more than 100 new refugees from Tibet and senior members of
the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), which also provides services
and financial support to the center and its temporary inhabitants. A
metal plaque on the new facility, which can accommodate 500 people,
unveiled during the ceremony, reads "Tibetan Reception Center Complex.
Funding provided by the United States Government. Inaugurated by
Honorable Timothy J. Roemer, U.S. Ambassador to India, 23rd February 2011."

The refugee center in Dharamsala is the final point in what can be a
long and dangerous journey from Tibet via Nepal to India. Typically,
after many weeks traveling in Tibet and a dangerous crossing through the
mountain passes of the Himalayas, Tibetan refugees are provided urgent
assistance at the Tibetan Refugee Transit Center in Kathmandu, operated
under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
After transit through Nepal, Tibetans travel onward to Dharamsala where
all new refugees are given an audience with the Dalai Lama, and the CTA
begins its efforts to provide for their resettlement in schools,
monasteries and cultural institutions in Tibetan communities in India.
The CTA has launched a Settlement Revitalization Plan, which will
receive some financial support from the U.S. Government, to accommodate
the stresses of 50 years of refugee in-migration from Tibet to India and

On February 24, Ambassador Roemer is scheduled to meet with His Holiness
the Dalai Lama at his Dharamsala residence. The two have previously met
in New Delhi.

Ambassador Roemer will then tour the Tibetan Children's Village (TCV) in
Dharamsala. The precursor of the TCV was founded to provide for the
critical needs of Tibetan refugee children who had been separated from
their families or orphaned as a consequence of the arrival in India of
tens of thousands of refugees from Tibet following the Dalai Lama's
flight into exile in 1959. The TCV, founded in 1972, continues the
mission to ensure that all children under its care receive a sound
education and maintain a firm cultural identity.

Ambassador Roemer's visit to Dharamsala follows by days the visit to a
Tibetan settlement in South India by Under Secretary of State for
Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, who serves concurrently as
the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. Under Secretary Otero
went on to Kathmandu, Nepal, where she visited the Tibetan Refugee
Transit Center and discussed Tibetan issues with various agencies and
officials, including the Nepal government. (See ICT reports, 'U.S. Tibet
Coordinator visits Tibetan settlement in south India [1],' and
'High-level U.S. visit shows commitment to Tibetan refugee issues in
Nepal [2].')

"Taken together, the visits of Ambassador Roemer and Under Secretary
Otero underscore the U.S. commitment to the Tibetan people, and the
abiding care and generosity of the American people." said Todd Stein,
ICT Director of Government Relations.
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