London, 30 November 2022: Following successful advocacy events in Lithuania with the Tibetan Parliamentary delegation consisting of parliamentarians Tenpa Yarphel, Youdon Aukatsang and Wangdue Dorjee, Representative Sonam Frasi further continued Tibet advocacy in the other two Baltic countries in the region last week. He had a busy schedule in Riga and Tallinn, meeting with government officials, parliamentarians, journalists, scholars and supporters drawing attention to long-standing grievances of religious freedom for the Panchen Lama recognised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the imminent threat of communist Chinese government interference in the selection of the 15th Dalai Lama, increasing threat of environmental situation on the Tibetan Plateau to more recent emerging concerns of mass mapping of Tibetan DNA collection without prior consent, wide-spread colonial-style boarding schools for Tibetan children, in addition to garnering international recognition that ‘Tibet was never a part of China. The visits this time have drawn out a confirmed plan for a visit of the Baltic parliamentarian delegation to the Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamshala next year.
During a two-day stay in Latvia, 23 – 24 November, Representative Sonam Frasi briefed officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the current situation in Tibet. Recalling their previous meetings, both sides shared their sadness at how the situation with China has unfolded as feared during discussions at their pre-pandemic meetings. He then met with Latvian parliamentarian Juris Vilums, Deputy Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who is also a member of the Latvian Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet, to discuss parliamentary support for Tibet including a visit of a Baltic parliamentarian delegation to Dharamsala next year. He also met with Andrew Byrley of the US Embassy in Riga to discuss mutual and overlapping concerns regarding Tibet and China. He also took time to pay respects at the Gadhen Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Riga. Representative Frasi was interviewed by two of Latvia’s biggest media networks - TV Net and Delfi.
Representative Sonam Frasi then travelled to Estonia, where he met with the Estonian Government’s Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu. The meeting was joined by former MP Juku-Kalle Raid – a poet with a background in journalism in addition to being a politician, Sven Grunberg – an academician and Roy Strider of local TSG.
Representative Sonam engaged in a press conference – interviewed for the Postimees, the first daily newspaper of Estonia, with Andres Herkel, who is a multi-decorated Estonian politician and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe as well as a published author of several books. In addition to narrating the current concerns of the Tibetan situation, questions were raised about the Estonian Government recognising the travel document for Tibetans in India – the Identity Certificate – issued by the Indian Government, and the possibility of scholarships for Tibetan students to study in Estonia.
He attended a luncheon meeting hosted by MP Kalle Laanet, a former minister who is currently the Deputy Chairman of the National Defence Committee, after which he joined a dinner meeting with MP Tarmo Kruusimae; Jaak Juske – a historian, journalist, and politician; academician Sven Grunberg; former MP Artur Talvik who is also an actor, director and producer; journalist and former MP Juku-Kalle Raid, who was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee involved with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); Andres Herkel; composer and artistic director Peeter Vahi; journalist Ingrid Peek and Roy Strider.
–Filed by OoT, London