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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?"

EU Official Visits Tibetan Community in Dharamsala

October 16, 2009

October 15, 2009

  Peter Clever, member of the European Economic
and Social Committee, addresses a press
conference at end of his two-day visit to the
Tibetan community in Dharamsala, India, on 14 October 2009/TibetNet photo
Dharamshala: A delegate of the European Economic
and Social Committee (EESC), Mr Peter Clever,
said the committee would explore all possible
fields of cooperation and dialogue with the
Chinese government, especially in the areas of
education and preservation of Tibetan culture and language.

Clever paid a two-day visit to the Tibetan
community in Dharamsala from 12-14 October.

Clever accompanied Mario Sepi, president of EESC,
for a visit to Tibet last month, with the aim to
increase their knowledge of the social and
economic conditions of TAR (Tibetan Autonomous Regions).

He said the delegation was taken for visit to
Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, adding that more
than 80 per cent of the Tibetan population lives in rural area.

Speaking of his impression after visiting Tibet,
Clever said the Chinese Central government has
made real and huge investment in Tibet's
infrastructural development to connect Tibet with
the Mainland China and the outside world.

But our major question was what investment was
made for the Tibetan people, especially in education, he said.

"We've seen some schools and I think the Chinese
central government is well aware of the necessity
to get education," he said. "But I think we will
have further questions, especially after my
impressions here in Dharamsala," added.

He said the Tibetans in exile are truly committed
to the principle of non-violence and compassion.
He unequivocally rejected the accusations that
Tibetans are violent in their approach.

Clever met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, members
of the Kashag, representatives of the Tibetan
NGOs, and visited educational and cultural
institutions during his stay in Dharamsala.

The President of the European Economic and Social
Committee is considering an official invitation
to His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Brussels
to get the message of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Clever said.

"The Delegation's concerns about the degree of
participation of Tibetans in the region's
economic development were strongly highlighted on
several occasions during our mission," noted
Mario Sepi, who headed a three member delegation
on a fact finding mission to Tibet from 11 -- 15 September.

"China, as a key global player, has to take on
stronger responsibilities in terms of opening up
its culture and values. At the same time, the
Tibetan culture, which I believe is a strong one,
needs to be dynamic in adapting to continuous
development which is an undeniable characteristic
of our globalised world, Sepi mentioned in his blog.

"There is a high level of discrepancy between
urban and rural areas. This can be source of
tensions, with the Han Chinese tending to be more
present in the more developed urban areas and
Tibetans predominating in the poorer rural areas of the region," he said.

"It is crucial, for a genuine and comprehensive
development of Tibet, to seriously invest in the
human capital and in a higher degree of
participation of the Tibetans in society," he said.

"I firmly believe that the Committee can help
improve the situation of people and societies, in
terms of human and socio-economic development
which cannot be separated from any concern
related to the protection of fundamental rights,' he said.

The European Economic and Social Committee is a
body of the European Union (EU) established in
1957. It is a consultative assembly composed of
employers, employees and representatives of
various other interests. It is similar to the
Committee of the Regions, with whom it shares the
Delors building in Brussels as its seat.
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