(TibetanReview.net, Nov05, 2017) – The last of the one thousand Tibetans living in refugees settlements in India’s northeastern border state of Arunachal Pradesh accepted for resettlement in Canada landed on the Ottawa International Airport on Nov 2 evening, winding up a project that took off in 2012, reported ottawacommunitynews.com Nov 3. Kunsang Lhundup, a 42-year-old former member of India’s Special Frontier Force, a paramilitary group deployed along the Himalayan border, was welcomed by Cornelius von Baeyer, Chair of the voluntary Tibetan Resettlement Project in Ottawa formed in 2012.
This was the 20th of such ceremony he had led since the first batch arrived.
The resettlement initiative was spurred by Canada’s federal government at the request of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, during his 2007 visit to the country. The one thousand Tibetans were selected from Tibetan refugee settlements in Arunachal Pradesh state through a lottery system.
Hamilton-area Conservative MP David Sweet joined the welcoming committee in his role as vice-chair of the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, the report said.
“We created the vehicle for them to come,” Sweet was quoted as saying. “We still have beautiful dreams one day that Tibet will have an autonomous relationship with China,” he has added. Sweet has also sat on a governmental sub-committee for international human rights that has been championing the rights of Tibetans.
The status of Tibetans living in India is one of statelessness, meaning they cannot hold a passport, must report to police to renew their permit to stay in the country, and are not to hold a government job or vote in elections. In recent years, a Few Tibetans have fought court cases and won the right to passport and vote in elections, but the vast majority continues to remain ineligible.
Kunsang Lhundup is not the last person from Arunachal Pradesh to have been accepted for resettlement in Canada. But he is the last one of the Ottawa chapter. There are few more Tibetans left to be resettled in Canada.