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Tibetan Refugees

Volume 659: debated on Wednesday 1 May 2019

5. What support her Department provides to Tibetan cultural programmes for Tibetan refugees living outside China. (910645)

DFID provides funding to the UN Refugee Agency, to prioritise the greatest humanitarian and protection needs of refugees globally. This includes Tibetan refugees in need of urgent life-saving assistance.

I hope to attend the seventh world parliamentary convention on Tibet together with the hon. Member for Dundee West (Chris Law), which will mark 60 years of the invasion and oppression of the Tibetan people, the 1 million lives lost and the oppression of the culture, language and human rights of those people. Many are refugees in Dharamsala and in desperate need of our help to keep the spirit of Tibet alive. Can we do more to help those refugees through the culture and education programmes that they value so much?

My hon. Friend raises an important point. Clearly, DFID’s funding is very much focused on education; but it is also focused on humanitarian assistance and support for refugees. I undertake to talk to my colleagues in both the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Foreign Office to see what more we can do to support culture and heritage for the Tibetan people.

I am very glad that the Secretary of State is taking an interest in Tibet, but can I urge her, reflecting on an earlier question, to look at the impact of climate change on what is often dubbed the third pole—on the melting of the Himalayan glaciers? It is having a huge impact on the Tibetan area but is overlooked when we talk about climate change.

It is absolutely right that the hon. Lady should raise that point. Of the areas where Britain can contribute most to the 17 global goals, I personally think that some really stand out: the key three being healthcare, climate change and partnerships. The hon. Lady knows that the Prime Minister, who is the UN Secretary-General’s climate resilience champion, will be doing much more on this in the coming months.