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Rehabilitation policy unlikely to stem Tibetans' emigration dreams

posted Jan 18, 2015, 9:00 AM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Jan 25, 2015, 6:10 PM ]
By Tibetan Review (January 10, 2015)

 (Editorial appeared in the November-December 2014 edition of Tibetan Review.)

On Oct 20 this year, the government of India issued a document titled “The Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy, 2014”. It is a significant document which enables one to know what the policy status of the Tibetans living in India since 1959 is. With some long lists, the policy document also explains what welfare and other facilities may be, but not necessarily will be, extended to them.

To begin with, the document explains that “Tibetans in India are considered refugees and they are staying temporarily in India on Humanitarian considerations”. The term ‘refugee’, however, does not occur in the Indian statute books and should, therefore, be understood in its proper context. In the case of Tibetans, it necessarily means those holding the Foreigner’s Registration Certificate (RC) issued by the government of India and which they are required to get renewed annually or, as the case may be, every five years, unless their permit to stay in the country gets revoked before that.

The RC is therefore nothing like the permanent residence document that successful asylum applicants get in the USA or Canada or other Western countries. Such asylum grantees get almost all the rights that the country’s citizens are entitled to, short of voting in elections and possibly standing for election to the country’s highest office. India does not have a law or standard system or process for granting such kind of asylum.

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