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US senators approve 5,000 visas for Tibet refugees

Published on May 21, 2013 1:19 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US lawmakers debating a landmark immigration bill on Monday approved the provision of 5,000 visas to Tibetan refugees to enter the United States over the next three years.

Citing "terrible" and increasing oppression by Chinese authorities against Tibetans, Senator Dianne Feinstein offered the matter as an amendment to the vast legislation aimed at fixing the US immigration system.

Senator Feinstein said the measure, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by voice vote, would ease conditions for displaced Tibetans living in India and Nepal, where she noted Tibetan resettlement facilities are more than 50 years old.

"In Nepal, the government has been essentially following Chinese mandates to make it very difficult for the Tibetan refugee community," the veteran Democrat told fellow senators.

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