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Leave the country, Swiss officials tell hundreds of Tibetans ineligible for asylum/ENG

2017. augusztus 31./Phayul.com/TibetPress

eredeti cikk

By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 31: Swiss immigration authorities have reportedly asked close to 300 Tibetans to leave the country as their documents are inadmissible for asylum application. The development comes fresh off a community gathering last week along with concerned Swiss and Tibetan officials in Zurich.

Radio Free Asia reported that on Sunday, representatives from Tibetan community including representatives from Office of Tibet branch there and the Secretary of Immigration office along with local Tibetans gathered at the Swiss Tibetan Community hall in Zurich to discuss the rising number of refugees and their situation. Both sides had a lengthy discussion, however there is no change in the government directive asking the Tibetans to leave the country.

Sporadic reports also suggested that the Swiss government is willing to bear expenses of travel as well as monetary assistance of 5000 Swiss Franc to each Tibetan to leave the country.

Switzerland which holds the largest number of Tibetans in Europe has had a healthy record in providing asylum to Tibetan refugees. The Berne government accepted the first batch of Tibetan refugees as early as the 1960s with the help of Red Cross. As per an exile Tibetan government (Central Tibetan Administration), there are currently over four thousand Tibetans living in Switzerland.

In July 2016, the Swiss government revised its policy to recognize Tibetans as ‘Chinese nationals’ thereby officially implementing the acceptance of ‘Tibet is a part of China’ into policy. Prior to that, Tibetans were accorded the “stateless/Tibetan” categorization in their documents.

The move was swiftly used by Beijing as a victory in terms of its growing influence and the subsequent decline of so called “separatists”. Chinese state media Global Times article stated, “Berne's denial of recognizing the "Tibet" nationality has no doubt dealt a blow to Tibetan separatists, as well as the so-called "government-in-exile" led by the 14th Dalai Lama. Since the influence of the separatists is declining, some Western countries will have to rethink how they would play the Tibet card to pressure Beijing once the Buddhist monk is gone.”

Switzerland’s approval rating for Tibetan refugee applicants has fallen significantly over the years with only 54.8% qualified in 2016 compared to 71.8% in 2015 and 85.8% in 2014. However, the change in policy to recognize Tibetans as Chinese nationals have not affected their eligibility for asylum, authorities told Swiss media.

Since the Swiss government received the first batch of 300 Tibetans in Switzerland decades ago, and the latest development of the same government asking close to 300 Tibetans to leave the nation, the tide has turned against the Tibetan refugees in the country once considered a haven for Tibetan refugees.

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