Tibetans and Tibetan Support Groups Issues Petition to the Swiss Government
Bern, 9th March 2018: Today on 9th March a group of five Tibetan organizations including Tibet Support groups as part of its ‘Europe Stands with Tibet’ initiative issued a petition to the Swiss Government highlighting prevailing challenges being faced by Tibetan diaspora in Switzerland as well as Tibetans in its homeland under the tenacious Chinese communist regime.
The petition was filed today near the Swiss Parliament in the Swiss capital Bern. The Petition was filed by a group of five Tibet Support Groups including Tibetan community of Swiss and Lichtenstein and Tibet Youth Association.
Prominent press representatives included Ms. Maya Graf and Ms. NR Prisca Birrer-Heimo from the members of Swiss parliamentary Group for Tibet, Ms. Angela Mattli on behalf of Gemeinschaft für Bedrohte Völker representing the community of endangered race, Mr. Samdo Jampa of Tibetan parliamentary member from Europe & Africa and Ms. Palmo , President of Tibetan Youth Association of Europe.
The representing groups in its petition to the Swiss government highlighted & demanded the need of urgent attention to the prevailing grievances of the Tibetan diaspora in Swiss and Tibetan rights in its homeland.
The petitioners are of the view that after five years of signing of free trade treaty with the Chinese government, Tibet support groups and the community of the endangered race sense the common weight of growing influence of the Chinese political might in Switzerland. The groups claimed the growing influence of the trade relationship between the Chinese and the Swiss government is having its negative repercussion on the Tibetan community in Switzerland in particular and Tibetans in Tibet in general.
In the meantime, the need for the protection of the rights of the Tibetans in Swiss is increasingly and painfully ignored. Such developments have hurt the rights of free speech, rights of identity, rights of free movement and likewise rights of privacy in the following ways:
1) Right of free speech and opinion: Sadly it is not always possible in Switzerland for Tibetans to raise their voice about the situations in Tibet. Protest rallies and political events are clamped down with growing restrictions (For example: as seen during the state visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinpin in 2017)
2) Rights of Identity: Switzerland no longer recognizes people of Tibetan origin as Tibetans, but as ‘China’ in their official identity documents.
3) Rights of Free Movement: In the past years it has become difficult for the Tibetans in Swiss to receive travel document from the Swiss government. As a result, people with Tibetan origin without travel document cannot travel outside Swiss.
4) Privacy: The Chinese influence and the control of the Tibetan diaspora in Swiss is increasing. This is also confirmed by the Swiss Intelligence Service.
The Petition Demanded:
To the Swiss government: -
1) to engage with the international community as well the Chinese government to protect the rights of the Tibetans, Tibetan culture and Tibetan language.
2) to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama ‘officially’ during his next visit in the Swiss.
To the Swiss politicians and Authorities:
1) to guarantee free expression and airing of views regarding situations in Tibet.
2) to find an alternative to the mention of people of Tibetan origin as from ‘China’ in their identity documents.
3) to strengthen the maintenance of right of free movement in which the protection needed people and the concerned people be issued with official travel documents.
4) to chalk out a concrete scheme to check the illegal control of Tibetans in Swiss and if need arise, the matter to bring up with the Chinese representatives in Swiss.
By : Jipatsang Tenzin Woeden
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