(TibetanReview.net, Sep22, 2017) – Two towns in Palermo, capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo in southernItaly, have on Sep 18 honoured Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, with honorary citizenship. The honours were presented by the Mayors of Isola delle Femmine and Ventimiglia di Sicilia.
The venue was the Massimo Theatre and the event took place in the presence of the Mayor of Palermo, Prof Lealuca Orlando. Prof Orlando, well known for having successfully taken on the Mafia in Sicily, is currently campaigning for the International Human Mobility Charter of Palermo. The Charter calls for fundamental change in the treatment of refugees and displaced people. He has declared, “Mobility must be recognised as an inalienable right”.
In their joint meeting with the media earlier in the morning, the mayor recalled the Dalai Lama’s last visit to Palermo in 1996. He said that since that time there had been a huge increase in the number of refugees and displaced people arriving in Sicily, which he said prompted him to launch his Charter of Palermo.
He said: “No one can let children, women and men die in deserts or at sea for the sole reason they are born poor or in countries at war. Solidarity between individuals is an essential value for everyone who wants to continue to belong to humanity. We need to show them compassion.”
The Dalai Lama lauded European countries for having demonstrated compassion through their actions. “We should help them now in their desperation,” he was quoted as saying. “But, eventually they will want to return to their own lands. This is what we Tibetans have always had in mind. First of all we must see peace and development restored in the countries refugees have fled, but in the long run it is natural to want to live in the land where you were born.”