(TibetanReview.net, Dec11’20) – Declaring his third policy objective, former Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) minister Mr Lobsang Nyandak has on Dec 6 promised to make efforts to secure resettlement in Western countries for 10,000 Tibetans currently living in India and Nepal if elected to the post of Sikyong, the executive head of the CTA, in next year’s Tibetan general election.
At least two previous resettlement bills introduced in the US Congress in the past several years since 2008 lapsed as they were not taken up by the committee or subcommittee to which they were referred apparently due to lack of any lobbying effort while one bill which was actually passed could not be carried out due to lack of cooperation from Nepal under pressure from China.
Tens of thousands of Tibetans have made it to the West – mainly the USA, Canada, France, Belgium, Switzerland – by taking huge loans at exorbitant interests to be paid to human traffickers and others. Their desperate moves, which are still continuing, have been driven by their uncertain and undefined legal status and, with it, the utter lack of opportunity in India and Nepal. Some have been exploited in worst possible manners by international human traffickers even then, while many have failed do make it after enduring harrowing experiences in their journeys.
Lobsang Nyandak, who is a former Representative at the Office of Tibet, then located in New York City, and is currently the President of the Tibet Fund, New York City, has offered four cogent reasons for planning to adopt this policy, which no other candidate as well as the current CTA appears to favour. He has rejected current official misgivings about any such resettlement effort and explained his reasons thus:
“To make the societal trend towards immigration humane
“An estimated 45% of the total exile Tibetan population has already immigrated to the West. Of them, around 80% have immigrated privately. These were without any assistance from any Central Tibetan Administration-approved immigration/rehabilitation program. Many of them have experienced hardships and challenges in their respective immigration processes. These included rising financial burden, prolonged family separation, and individually navigating the lengthy, tedious and complex immigration process. The societal trend and demographic shift in the past two decades indicate the continued inevitability of this migration phenomenon within the exile community in the coming decade or so. In light of this current social reality, it is imperative that the CTA initiate and implement a major Resettlement Program of 10,000 Tibetans from India and Nepal to western countries to mitigate any challenges unassisted Tibetan immigrants may face in the future.
“To benefit the Tibetan community development
“My proposed Resettlement Program will not only enable Tibetans to adopt a new livelihood and a standard of living that is more self-reliant and self-sustaining, but also provide younger Tibetans with educational access and opportunities in good schools and world-renowned colleges. These will equip them adequately and professionally in this modern competitive world. Given the past success of many overseas Tibetan communities in balancing and integrating the new way of life along with the preservation of our unique Tibetan language, culture, and Tibetan values, the growth in similar Tibetan communities in the western countries can strengthen our culture and identity.
“Its positive impact on the Tibetan cause
“As citizens of developed nations, Tibetan immigrants will be able to exercise their rights and participate in the political process of their respective regions and countries to successfully advocate and lobby on various social, economic, and political matters, including on the resolution of Tibet issue through dialogue with the PRC Government. It will empower Tibetans to effectively lobby their local and state representatives to raise their voices and in turn, pressure their respective national governments to make China accountable for their human rights abuses in Tibet and ensure greater freedom for our Tibetan brothers and sisters in Tibet. Tibetan youths will have the opportunity to serve in offices of local elected representatives and in their school and work environments and act as unofficial ambassadors for Tibet to strengthen the ongoing Tibetan freedom struggle movement.
“To improve the status of Tibetans in India and Nepal
“My proposed Resettlement Program can help alleviate persistent challenges faced by Tibetans in India and Nepal. Although our community has witnessed social and financial developments in the past few decades in India, there are still Tibetans who continue to live in conditions of poverty and vulnerability and are in need of aid and assistance. In the wake of growing proximity between China and Nepal and the consequent shifting national policies on Tibetans in Nepal, many Tibetans in Nepal live in a state of uncertainty and vulnerability. Many undocumented Tibetans in Nepal face deprivation of access to opportunities for education, employment in public sector and state-supported social assistance. These external challenges which are largely beyond the control of the CTA – and the resultant increased reliance on the CTA – can be greatly mitigated through such a Resettlement Program.”