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Documentary highlights failed Tibetan asylum seekers’ plight in Switzerland

(TibetanReview.net, Feb03’21) – Following an international outcry over a Swiss-China deal providing all-expense paid trip for Chinese agents to interview deportation targets, a group of concerned Swiss citizens has premiered a documentary on the plight of rejected Tibetan asylum seekers in Switzerland. The 20-minute film premiered at the Solothurn film festival, which was held from Jan 12 to 27.

Founded in 1966 in the Swiss city of Solothurn, it is the most important annual festival for Swiss film productions.

Directed by renowned documentarist and filmmaker Christian Labhart and his wife Heidi Schmid, “All we have is our voice: Tibetan Sans-Papiers in Switzerland” features 10 Tibetans and five Swiss citizens on a dark stage discussing the difficulties faced by the Tibetans.

The rejected Tibetan asylum seekers tell their stories of rejection, arrest, imprisonment and homesickness. And the Swiss mentors share with the audience their journey of learning and supporting their Tibetan mentees.

The Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association, the Tibetan Community of Switzerland and Lichtenstein, the Tibetan Women’s Association of Switzerland and the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe have started a joint petition requesting the Swiss government for a humanitarian solution to the around 300 rejected Tibetan asylum seekers in Switzerland, reported the Central Tibetan Administration on its Tibet.net website Feb 3.

The petition was reported to have received 1300 signatures so far. It will be submitted to the Swiss authorities on Mar 10, which will coincide with the 62nd Tibetan National Uprising Day commemoration.

Representative Chhimey Rigzen at Tibet Bureau Geneva has said, “Switzerland has been one of the first European countries to accept Tibetan refugees and has always stood for human rights and justice of Tibetans. We are hopeful that the Swiss authorities will find a suitable humanitarian solution for the Tibetans suffering in Switzerland without any documentations.”

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