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TheArachneed » Uncategorized » World Refugee Day:Tibetan-Flemish Circle of Friends (Belgium) participates in the World Refugee Day 2013

World Refugee Day:Tibetan-Flemish Circle of Friends (Belgium) participates in the World Refugee Day 2013


Beernem (Belgium), : June 20 is the annual World Refugee Day. The General Assembly of the United Nations has set that day as Refugee Day in the year 2000, to bring the issue of the refugees in the attention and to achieve a better understanding about refugees. The United Nations chose June 20 because the years before was already Africa Refugee Day in some African countries.

The Belgian Tibet organization Tibetaanse-Vlaamse Vriendenkring (Tibetan-Flemish Circle of Friends) has also participated in the World Refugee Day. The association found it important to bring the issue of refugees in the spotlight and to show solidarity with many other refugees, not only Tibetans who flee their country because of the oppression by the Chinese government.

Perhaps one of the most famous refugees is His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. After his forced escape from Tibet to India in 1959, hundreds of thousands of Tibetans followed him, and still nowadays hundreds to a thousand Tibetans escape their country.

The Belgian Tibet organization has supported the action that was set up by Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen (Refugee Work Flanders, an organization for refugees in Flanders, the Dutch part of Belgium). Tibetan-Flemish Circle of Friends has done an action at the railway station of Beernem (Belgium) in the morning from 6.15 till 9.00 o’clock, distributing mini flyers and candy. In one minute, somewhere in the world eight people have to flee their country. With the candy, the message was given that when the sweet is eaten (in one minute time), eight people have to flee: fathers, mothers, children…A few sympathisants of Tibetan-Flemish Circle of Friends have also helped with the action at the railway station in Ghent.

2.Dennis Barbion, president of Tibetan-Flemish Circle of Friends: “We joined the action organized by Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen  (Refugee Work Flanders) to unite forces. It’s better to support a good existing action than to set up something separately. In this way we can send a more powerful message, and there is no fragmentation of smaller actions. Our organization the Tibetan-Flemish Circle of Friends always finds cooperation very important, for example with other associations. Today we had the coorperation of Werkgroep Vluchtelingen Beernem (Workgroup Refugees Beernem) and Gemeentelijke Raad voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking Beernem (Municipal Council for Development Beernem). ”

 In the daily newspaper “Metro” that is spread for free in a lot of Belgian railway stations, eight testimonies of young refugees were published1.-The-team--in-Beernem today. One of those testimonies was by a Tibetan, the others were testimonies of refugees from Guinea, Burundi, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Chechnya and Congo.

The action was very successful. Almost 1,000 flyers and sweets were distributed and we had a lot of positive reactions. Many people didn’t know about the fact that there are so many refugees in the world, and that eight people flee in one minute time. Many students take the train to either Gent or Bruges, so the message has also reached many youngsters.

This action was in 27 Belgian railway stations and there were more than 250 volunteers who distributed flyers and candy.

Dennis Barbion: “Apart from our social projects for the Tibetans in India and the support for the Tibetan community on cultural and educational area, the Tibetan-Flemish Circle of Friends also provides support to Tibetan refugees in Belgium. Within our operation we also have an initiative ‘Help for Tibetans in Flanders’. We help Tibetan refugees with difficulties with their administration, the daily correspondence, formalities and procedures of official bodies, local authorities and social services, health insurance etc. We assist them, we give advice or refer them to a body. We also look for solutions for Tibetans with social problems. Currently we are indeed busy with the expansion of our network of this initiative.” 

by Dennis Barbion in Belgium.



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