HC Deb 01 March 1965 vol 707 cc895-6
1. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what information he has from the High Commissioner for Refugees of the numbers of refugees from Tibet who have entered India and other nations adjacent to Tibet.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. George Thomson)

According to reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are some 40,000 Tibetan refugees in India, and 11,000 in Nepal.

Mr. Taylor

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that this huge and rather tragic problem stems from acts of genocide and savage repression which have been committed and are still being committed by the Chinese Communists in Tibet? Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that, as China's policies have been condemned by the United Nations General Assembly and also by the International Commission of Jurists, we have a responsibility to see that the world is not allowed to forget either the plight of the Tibetan people or our very real responsibility towards these refugees?

Mr. Thomson

Everyone deplores the circumstances which created this refugee problem. The Indian Government, I know, give every possible help that they can to the United Nations organisations and to the voluntary organisations in seeking to alleviate the plight of these refugees.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

What are Her Majesty's Government doing through the Unisted Nations to help in the educa- tion of these children and to help these people to retain their ethnic identity?

Mr. Thomson

The Government give general support to the refugee work of the United Nations. This is primarily the responsibility of the Indian Government, who are very generous with the help they give, especially in view of their own severe domestic economic problems.

Mr. Ennals

Have the British Government received any requests for assistance in the matter of the plight of the Tibetan refugees? Is my hon. Friend aware of the considerable work done by voluntary organisations in this country, working among Tibetan children—especially the Ockenden Venture, which looks after many of the refugee children?

Mr. Thomson

Yes. On behalf of the Government I should like to pay tribute to the work done by voluntary societies in assisting these refugees. There has been no request to the British Government officially to give direct assistance.