Swiss parliamentarians call for immediate release of Panchen Lama, family

Fifteen Swiss MPs who called for the immediate release of the 11th Panchen Lama and HIs entire Family among others. Image: Swiss Parliamentarians official websites.

DHARAMSALA, 14 May: A total of 15 lawmakers from Switzerland have called upon the Chinese government to immediately release the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his entire family.

“For 25 years, since 17thy May 1995, there has been no verifiable and sufficient information about the well being and whereabouts of Gendun Choekyi Nyima and his family,” the statement read.

The statement was signed by 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 to mark the 25th year of the enforced disappearance of the Panchen Lama in a joint statement issued in three languages on Wednesday.

The parliamentarians have further 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” and urged the Chinese government to “respect human rights in Tibet including cultural and religious freedom.” 

Additionally, they have also called on Beijing to “resume dialogue with the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for peaceful resolution of Tibet.”

The MPs concluded the statement expressing their “deep respect for the Tibetan culture and peaceful resistance of Tibetan people,” and declared that “they will continue to stand in solidarity with the Tibetan people.”

Born on 25 Apr 1989 in Lhari County in Nagchu region of eastern Tibet, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama by His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama at the tender age of 6 on 14 May 1995.

Three days after his enthronement, the 11th Panchen Lama was kidnapped by the Peoples Republic of China and have been held captive since 17 May 1995 along with his family members. He has not been seen in public ever since.

Human Rights organizations have called him the youngest political prisoner in the world.

Today the world’s youngest political prisoner has turned into one of the world’s longest-serving political prisoner and even after 25 years, the 11th Panchen Lama and his family’s whereabouts and condition still remains unknown. In his place, another child named Gyaltsen Norbu was appointed as the 11th Panchen Lama by the Chinese government.

Regardless of the concerns expressed and requests made by numerous organizations such as Human Rights organizations, Committee on the Rights of the child, United Nation’s Human Rights Council and Tibetan non-governmental organizations, the Chinese authorities have disclosed no information at all about the well being and whereabouts of Tibet’s lost child.

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