(TibetanReview.net, Oct20, 2014) – The head of the exile Tibetan administration at Dharamshala, India, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay on Oct 17 addressed more than 500 Tibetans in the Belgian city of Antwerpen, said the administration on its Tibet.net website Oct 18. It said he spoke to the Tibetans on a range of issues and also met separately on Oct 15 morning with representatives of some 400 Tibetans whose asylum applications had been rejected by the Belgian government.
The Sikyong was reported to have emphasized the exile administration’s middle way policy of seeking genuine autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule while being also welcoming of Tibetans who hold other positions.
He was reported to have explained that one reason for his visit to Belgium was to get firsthand information about the problems faced by Tibetans asylum applicants. He was also reported to have met with the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons in Brussels. However, it was not clear whether the meeting resulted in any specific outcome one way or the other.
While in Brussels the Sikyong was reported to have met with European Commission officials as well as Members of the European Parliament.
About 3,000 Tibetans currently live in Belgium. Belgium changed its policy in 2013 to deny asylum to Tibetan applicants who come from or through India, contending that they should remain there under a refugee protection it believes New Delhi provides them.