Tibetans call on China to release Tibetan Political Prisoners on the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, August 30, 2023. Photo: TPI

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Dharamshala — On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration remembers all the Tibetans who were forced to disappear in Tibet and urges the People's Republic of China (PRC) to release all Tibetan political prisoners immediately.

On the International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, 30 August 2023, the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances , the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Representatives of Indonesia and Malaysia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights urged all States to provide effective access to justice for victims of enforced disappearance, that include any individual who has suffered harm as the direct result of an enforced disappearance.

To commemorate the International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) release statement on the August 30, 2023 and it stated," Since Chinese occupation, Tibetans have frequently been subjected to prolonged and unnumbered periods in detention without any information regarding the wellbeing or whereabouts of the arrestees being provided to family and relatives, causing grave concern. Furthermore, arrestees are frequently severely tortured and subjected to ill-treatments while in detention, resulting in grave health complications that eventually result in prisoner death due to poor health conditions."

"One of the most notable enforced disappearance cases in the world is that of Tibet’s 11th Panchen Lama, Jetsun Tenzin Gedhun Yeshi Trinley Phuntsok Pal Sangpo, who was abducted and enforced disappeared from the public eyes by the Chinese authorities when he was only 6 years old along with his entire family. Even after 28 years, there is still no information on the wellbeing of the Panchen Lama, his whereabouts, or whether his existence remains in doubt, despite repeated appeals and demands for his release from the international community to the PRC," the statement of DIIR added.

"PRC’s Enforced Disappearance method is a two-fold approach by which it creates terror in victims’ minds and bodies as well as in their families and relatives while simultaneously torturing prisoners in order to force confessions from them in order to justify the unlawful arrest and detention of Tibetans. A significant majority of Tibetans unlawfully arrested–lamas, monastics, community leaders, writers and poets, intellectuals, singers, nomads and students–are subjected to enforced disappearance for months before being brought before the Chinese courts for trial for their alleged “crimes” against the Chinese Communist Party," the DIIR explained.

"As much as the Chinese Criminal Procedure Law allows for enforced disappearances, it is imperative to replace it with a set of procedural safeguards that are internationally acceptable for suspects of “endangering state security” and “terrorism”. The Tibetan political prisoners subjected to enforced disappearance should be immediately released by China and their families should be informed of their whereabouts and conditions of imprisonment," DIIR concluded their statement.

The US State Department also issued a statement on International Cictims of Enforced Disappearance on August 30, 2023, which reads as follows:" The issue of enforced disappearances and missing persons is a global concern. The United States calls on all governments to confront the issue of disappeared or missing individuals. We urge those responsible for enforced disappearances to immediately cease this practice, disclose information about the victims to their loved ones, and either release the victims unconditionally or return the remains of those who have tragically lost their lives. Furthermore, we call upon governments to halt any harassment and retaliatory actions against individuals advocating for the rights of victims of enforced disappearances."