As part of an ongoing parliamentary exchange programme, Tibet Society will be facilitating a visit of five UK MPs to the Parliament of the Tibetan government in exile based in Dharamsala, northern India. The MPs will be in Dharamsala between Monday 3 and Friday 7 October and, whilst there, the delegation will meet the recently inaugurated Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister) Dr Lobsang Sangay, Ministers of the exiled government as well as representatives and officials. An audience with the Dalai Lama is scheduled for Tuesday 4 October.
The programme will also include visits to the Reception Centre for newly arrived refugees, the Tibetan Transit School, the Gu Chu Sum movement that helps former political prisoners and the Tibetan Children’s Village School amongst others. During the week, Tibet Society will be hosting an interactive tea reception for MPs to meet representatives from NGOs and institutions operating in Dharamsala.
The MPs are:
Fabian Hamilton – Labour MP for Leeds North East, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet
James Gray – Conservative MP for North Wiltshire , Vice-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet
Simon Hughes – Liberal Democrat MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vice-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet
Nic Dakin – Labour MP for Scunthorpe
Cathy Jamieson – Labour MP for Kilmarnock and Loudon
Tibet Society initiated an MP exchange programme following a visit of Tibetan MPs to London in 2005 and first took a delegation of UK MPs to Dharamsala in 2007. This has been followed by two delegations of Tibetan MPs visiting London and a further delegation of British MPs travelling to Dharamsala in 2008.
The aim of the exchange programme is to support Tibetan democracy and help build democratic processes. This is achieved by offering opportunities for Tibetans to advocate directly to British MPs, forging greater understanding between British and Tibetan parliamentarians and observing the practices of each others’ parliaments.
Tibet Society is the Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (APPGT). The APPGT, founded in 1986, consists of MPs from all three main parties, who have joined out of their interest and concern regarding the Tibetan cause and Tibetan people. The stated purpose of the group is: “To put pressure on Her Majesty’s Government to encourage negotiations between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile, whilst recognising that Tibet is an occupied country which had independent links with Britain.”
We will be posting blogs during the trip, including updates on meetings, photos plus insights and anecdotes from ‘behind-the-scenes’. So please check back.