15 Swiss parliamentarians call for the release of 11th Panchen Lama on 25th year of his enforced disappearance


Geneva: Marking the 25th year of the enforced disappearance of Tibet’s 11th Panchen Lama Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, 15 parliamentarians of Switzerland called upon the Chinese government to immediately release the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his entire family.

Three Members of the Council of States- Maya Graf, Lisa Mazzone and Carlo Sommaruga; and 12 Members of the National Council Prisca Birrer-Heimo, Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, Claudia Friedl, Balthasar Glättli, Nik Gugger, Barbara Gysi, Beat JansIrène Kälin, Fabian Molina, Martina Munz, Nicolas Walder and Cédric Wermuth who are also members of Switzerland’s Parliamentary Group for Tibet issued a joint statement in three languages.

The 15 Parliamentarians raised concerns over China’s continued denial of information about the Panchen Lama and China’s refusal for an independent team to assess the ground situation in Tibet. Calling upon the Chinese government to “respect human rights in Tibet including cultural and religious freedom” the Parliamentarians pressed the Chinese government to “resume dialogue with the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for peaceful resolution of Tibet.” The Parliamentarians expressed deep respect for the Tibetan culture and the peaceful resistance of Tibetan people and undertook to “stand in solidarity with the Tibetan people.”

The joint statement by the Swiss Parliamentarians also emphasized the fact that “for 25 years, since 17th May 1995, there has been no verifiable and sufficient information about the well-being and whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his entire family.” The Swiss parliamentarians join the growing global call for the release of Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Recently 159 organizations from 19 countries submitted a joint petition to the UN  calling for its intervention and to press China to release Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.

The case of the enforced disappearance of Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is pending at the United Nations, both at UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance and the Committee on the Rights of the Child, for the last 25 years. China has repeatedly denied any access to the Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and deprived him of any religious and scholastic education in Tibetan Buddhism.

In the last six decades, China has converted Tibet into one of the lease free regions in the world. Under the Chinese Communist Party regime, Tibetans have been kept under constant high-tech surveillance and information blockade. The Tibetan people, particularly the monks and nuns are under scrutiny and pressure and are forcefully subjected to “patriotic re-education camps.” The US Commission on International Religious Freedom in its 2020 report has once again advised the US Government to redesignate China as “‘Country of Particular Concern’ for engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations.”

Click here to read the joint statement. 

-Filed by Tibet Bureau, Geneva