French Senate delegation visits Dharamshala, Hopes to visit Tibet

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A four-member French senate delegation, representing the country's major political groups, are currently on a
week-long visit to the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala. 

The delegation, led by Senator Jean-Francois Humbert, President of the Tibet Group and a member of the Union for a Popular Movement Party,
includes senators Michel Berson, Socialist Party, Bernard Fournier, Union for a Popular Movement Party, and Andre Gattolin, Green Party.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile is coordinating the visit.

Addressing a press conference earlier today at the Department of information and International Relations, the delegation lauded the
Tibetan non-violent struggle for freedom and noted that they will press China to allow a French Parliamentary delegation to visit Tibet.

"We all have a common goal in our hearts and that is supporting Tibetans," Humbert said. "So, all of us, representing all the big
political groups in the French Senate are here for the same goal - supporting the Tibetan issue and the people."

"In the international context, when there is violence somewhere, it receives a lot of attention. In the Tibetan case, it would be very
useful if the international community recognises the non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people."

Speaking about their ongoing visit (May 8-14), Berson said the delegation members saw and heard much more about the Tibetan issue
than they were aware of. "The real meaning of freedom and resistance has such great sense in Dharamshala here," Berson said.

He added that the French senate will ask the Chinese government to allow a delegation of the French Parliamentary group to travel to
Tibet. "We might not receive a favorable response to our request but it would be a positive step, which will show we are willing to support
the Tibetan people in this difficult time."

Last month, the French Parliamentary Tibet support group met with Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people,
during his visit to the country.

The French Parliamentary delegation's visit to Dharamshala comes weeks after French President Francois Hollande met China's new President Xi
Jinping in Beijing and raised the issue of Tibet and human rights in a "frank and respectful manner" during the talks.

The delegation had an audience with Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee and met officials of the Central Tibetan Administration. The
French lawmakers will also be visiting Tibetan schools and hold meetings with leaders of various Tibetan NGOs in the coming days

Speaker Penpa Tsering and Deputy Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel of the Tibetan Parliament addressing the press with the French Senate
delegation in Dharamshala on May 10, 2013.