159 organisations call on UN to pressure China to free 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet

The 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Photo: File

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Geneva — Some 159 organizations submitted a joint petition to the United Nations urging it to press China for the immediate release of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, and his entire family.

This year marks the 25th year of the enforced disappearance of Tibet’s 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his entire family by the Chinese Communist Party, according to the Tibet Bureau Geneva.

The enforced disappearance case of Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is currently pending at the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Special Procedure- Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance.

The joint petition is addressed to UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres, Chair of the General Assembly’s Third Committee Christian Braun, President of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Elisabeth Tichy- Fisslberger and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

The petition was further forwarded to 12 UN Special Procedure Mandate-Holders, four UN treaty bodies, WHO, and 192 Permanent Missions of the UN Member States by the Tibet Bureau Geneva requesting their support and necessary actions for the release of Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his entire family.

The joint petition was signed by organizations from 18 countries across the five regional groups under the UN: Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Uruguay and USA co-ordinated by OoTs Delhi, Geneva, Latin America, Paris, Taiwan, Washington, and South Africa.

The petition highlights China’s egregious human rights violations against Tibetans and the people living under its regime which has led to the spread of COVID-19 pandemic plunging the world in an unprecedented loss of lives, crippling the global economy. “We cannot allow China to continue on this path of global destruction with the ‘Chinese model of deceit and oppression.’”

“Communist China is destroying the foundations of Tibetan Buddhism. It is interfering in the sacred Buddhist traditions of Tibetans with unjust laws like Order no. 5 through which ‘atheist’ Chinese government is meddling in the recognition of reincarnated lamas,” notes the petition.

It further adds, “the 25 years of the enforced disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family members is a continuous crime not just against him, his family and the Tibetan people but also against every individual who believes in the sanctity of human rights. This is a crime against humanity and China must be held accountable for this heinous act.”

The joint-petition urged the UN to:

  • Press China to release Tibet’s 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, his entire family, and Chadrel Rinpoche;
  • Press China to stop meddling in the religious practices of the peoples under its regime including Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, and Christians;
  • Press China to allow an independent fact-finding mission to assess the human rights violations perpetrated against Tibetans in Tibet and other regions under China;
  • Release statement/press note raising serious concerns and calling for the immediate release of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima in this 25th year of his enforced disappearance.
  • Click here to read about joint-petition.