Joint petition asks UN to press China to release 25-year disappeared top Tibetan religious figure

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama.

(, May08’20) – A total of 159 organizations have urged the United Nations to press a stone-cold-hearted China to forthwith release the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure, whom it had rendered disappeared with his family since May 17, 1995. The occasion was the religious leader’s 25th year of disappearance.

“The 25 years of 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 petition was quoted as saying.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Special Procedure-Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance have been pursuing his case with China all these years, but to no avail. China has persistently remained unmoved by calls for his release made by the international community in the form of direct petitions, leadership calls, and appeals, as well as through numerous parliamentary resolutions.

The petition accuses China of destroying the foundations of Tibetan Buddhism and “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.”

Apart from seeking the release of the Panchen Lama and his family, as well as Chadrel Rinpoche who had led his reincarnation-discovery team, the petition calls for a fact-finding mission to be organized “to assess the human rights violations perpetrated against Tibetans in Tibet and other regions under China.”

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

Copies of the petition were forwarded to 12 UN Special Procedure Mandate-Holders, four UN treaty bodies, the WHO and 192 Permanent Missions of the UN Member States, said the Tibet Bureau Geneva of the Central Tibetan Administration May 7. They were requested to lend support, including by taking necessary actions towards securing the release of the Panchen Lama and his family.

The Bureau said those who signed the joint petition included organizations from 18 countries across the five regional groupings under the UN system: Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Uruguay and USA.


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