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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?"

Tibetan resettlement project update

October 23, 2011

Last December, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that the Canadian government would welcome 1,000 displaced Tibetans living in Arunachal Pradesh, India to Canada over a five-year period.

As you can imagine, putting the plans in place for such a mammoth undertaking takes time. In fact, it was only on March 17th that the Minister could sign the public policy to put the plan into motion.

Public Policy

As of March 17, 2011, applications for permanent residence made under the IRPA by persons who are displaced Tibetans living in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India who have been matched with an approved sponsor in Canada shall be assessed along with their family members by delegated officers to determine whether permanent residence status in Canada could be granted to them on the basis of the criteria that are set out below.

Read more: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/laws-policy/tibet.asp


Project Tibet Society

At the federal government's request, the Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) incorporated Project Tibet Society, a registered non-profit organization, to oversee the resettlement project.

In June, after weeks of discussions between the CTC and officials with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Project Tibet Society signed the official memorandum of understanding.


Arunachal Pradesh visit

In May, CTC board member Nima Dorjee and executive director Dermod Travis visited Tezu and Miao, two of the five settlements in Arunachal Pradesh, to begin preparations related to the selection process. Over 700 residents came out to hear their presentations.

After the visit, Nima and Dermod went on to Dharamsala for meetings with the outgoing Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche, the incoming Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay and officials with the Central Tibetan Administration.

The highlight of their visit to Dharamsala was a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama who conveyed his deep appreciation to the Canadian government and again reiterated his commitment to the success of this project.

You can view a number of their photos from Arunachal Pradesh and Dharamsala at the CTC's Facebook Group and please, if you haven't, take a moment to join the group.


How you can help

One thousand Tibetans are counting on us to establish their new lives in Canada. They need our help and the CTC can only do this with your help.

Many of you have already volunteered and we thank you. We're now setting up local committees to oversee the project in major cities across Canada. If you have not yet been contacted by local organizers, you can expect to be shortly, because we'll need help with everything:

> room and board for up to one year
> job search assistance
> companionship and support

> English or French teaching as a second language

> clothing, household supplies etc.

No government funds are available to support the project. It's why every person who has and will step forward is critical.

If you haven't already volunteered, it's not too late. Please contact us at ctcoffice@tibet.ca

And if you can, please consider making a donation to the project at:

www.tibet.ca/en/join_donate/


Groups of Five

The number one priority moving forward are Groups of Five.

A Group of Five is composed of five – or more – Canadians or permanent residents, 18 years of age or older, who live in the community where the Tibetan will settle. Members provide the necessary support for the 12 month sponsorship. The group is expected to show that they have the necessary resources, expertise and commitment required to fulfil the sponsorship.

In addition to training, Project Tibet Society will help guide groups through all the necessary steps required and be there to counsel groups during the 12 month period.

If you're ready to be part of a Group of Five please contact ctcoffice@tibet.ca indicating your interest to join a group in your community.

We plan to make it as easy as possible. The Toronto-based Refugee Sponsorship Training Program has generously offered to provide training to members. And we've prepared a model integration plan that we continuously refine to meet the needs of our new neighbours. This model plan can also be tailored by local committees to meet local realities and needs.

While joining a group is an undertaking that should be fully considered before you agree, it's also an incredible experience as you can read below from just one of the many CTC supporters who has already participated in a group – not once but three times.

"I've had the honour and pleasure of having twice been a Group of Five member

and am currently participating in a third Group of Five sponsorship – all involving Tibetans in exile.

This is an honour for me to be able to do this as my fortunate position in life allows me to lend a hand to

others who don't have the opportunities, safety and freedoms I enjoy.

The Group of Five sponsorship process gave me and four other Canadian citizens

a useful and precious way to express our gratitude."


Project Tibet Society in the news


Radio-Canada International

Nima Dorjee is chair of the Project Tibet Society, formed in 2010 to facilitate the selection and settlement in Canada of a thousand Tibetan refugees. They are currently in exile in a remote and restrictive region of India. Mr. Dorjee offers a status report, as well as an account of his own journey that led him to Canada as a refugee in 1981.

http://www.rcinet.ca/english/program/masala-canada/home/date/21-10-2011/


Calgary Herald

These days, Dorjee's passion for Tibet is burning even brighter as he talks about his most ambitious project to date.

As the chair of the Project Tibet Society (www.tibet.ca/projecttibetsociety), he is overseeing the move of 1,000 displaced Tibetans, now in a settlement camp in a remote part of northern India, to Canada.

The seeds of the initiative were sowed in 2007, while the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile, was on a Canadian visit and appealed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to allow for the resettlement of 1,000 Tibetan exiles living in an area virtually cut off from the outside world. They are people without any official status and their movements restricted to a small region deep in the forest.

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Activist+Nima+Dorjee+helping+displaced+Tibetans/5530450/story.html


Videos

Take a moment to view an important message from Lobsang Nyandak, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEHPHnZY_YI&feature=channel_video_title

and the new Kalon Tripa, Lobsang Sangay (in Tibetan only):

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldPoP1I7AHw&feature=channel_video_title


Website

You can learn more about the resettlement project at:

www.tibet.ca/projecttibetsociety


and to stay up to date with developments, please Like the project's Facebook page at:


www.facebook.com/tibetresettlementproject




CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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