A US senate committee has approved a provision that will 5,000 visas to Tibetan refugees over a three-year period.
The Senate Judiciary Committee added the Tibet provision while debating a landmark immigration bill, which could ultimately provide a 13-year path to citizenship for most of the 11 million people living in the United States illegally, reports AFP.
US lawmakers cited “terrible” and increasing oppression by Chinese authorities against Tibetans and said the measures would ease conditions for displaced Tibetans living in India and Nepal, but would likely anger Beijing.
“In Nepal, the government has been essentially following Chinese mandates to make it very difficult for the Tibetan refugee community,” Senator Dianne Feinstein told the senate.
The “Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act of 2013” states that 5,000 immigrant visas “shall be made available to qualified displaced Tibetans” during the three-year period beginning on October 1, 2013.
However, the Tibetan provision will come into effect only after the wider immigration bill is passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and becomes a law.
More than 110 Tibetans have set themselves alight since 2009 in protest against Chinese oppression, reports AFP.