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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Dalai Lama asks Canada to take in thousands of Tibetans

November 2, 2007


Ottawa, October 31 (AFP) - The Dalai Lama asked Canada to take in thousands of Tibetan refugees living in exile in Nepal and India, he said in an interview with
the daily Globe and Mail, published Wednesday.

The Tibetan spiritual leader told the newspaper he had made the request during formal talks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday.

During the meeting, the Dalai Lama said he thanked Harper for Canada having previously accepted 4,000 Tibetan refugees and asked, "Please take a few thousand

Immigration officials, however, were cool to the proposal, saying the UN High Commission for Refugees does not view Tibetans as a population in need of
resettlement because they are not facing persecution in India, the paper said.

Some 100,000 Tibetan refugees live in northern India and Nepal, often in difficult conditions. Many fled Tibet in 1959 with the Dalai Lama after a failed uprising
against Chinese rule.

Rights groups regularly accuse China of maintaining a repressive rule over the Himalayan region, and say that monks or other people who express support for the
Dalai Lama in Tibet are beaten or jailed.

The Dalai Lama insists he wants autonomy for Tibet rather than independence.

His meeting with Harper was sharply criticized by Beijing, which claims the Nobel laureate is a dangerous figure agitating for Tibetan independence.

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