Italy shuts its doors on non-violent Tibetans ... no more visas
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Out of the clear blue, on May 18, 2017, the Italian consulate in Mumbai published a notice that it would no longer accept Tibetans asking for visas to Italy. Tibetans in India are considered "stateless" and hold the only travel document they have: Identity Certificate, or Yellow Passport in jargon, issued by the government of India. Days later, the same disturbing news was given from the Italian embassy in Delhi. A directive was given them from the Ministery of Foreign Affairs in Rome, Italy to not issue visas to Tibetans invited to Italy.
There is no viable reason for this block other than saying that the Identity Certificate does not meet "technical requirements". Very strange, considering that this document was accepted until May 17, 2017, and has been for around 30 years.
This sudden decision has caused enormous setbacks to many Dharma centers, associations, etc. who invite Tibetans, usually monks or nuns, during the summer for tours that bring the Tibetan culture of non-violence to our country. This decision also damages lay Tibetans wanting to visit their families living in Italy.
The Italian government has accepted Buddhism as a legal religion, however in this way, Buddhists following Tibetan Buddhism will be penalised as their teachers will not be given visas to enter into the country!
H.H. the Dalai Lama has been invited to 4 different Italian cities in September, 2017. The Dalai Lama is now 82 years old and travels with a group of Tibetans whom he relies on when he travels. Most of them travel with Indian government Identity Certificates.
We expect that the Dalai Lama will receive a visa for Italy, as did the HH the 42nd Sakya Trizin during the month of July. However, the Italian government did not give Sakya Trizin's assistants visas. Is this what we can expect from the Italian government for the Dalai Lama?
We insist that the Italian government stop blocking Tibetans who have only brought ethical values and spirituality into our country. We ask our government to reinstate the issuing of visas to Tibetans holding Indian issued Identity Certificates.
Please don't make us be the laughing stock of the world for refusing the only non-violent people on this earth entrance to Italy!!!
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