Way cleared for Swiss Parliament to discuss Tibetan rights issues

Activists demonstrate in front of the UN offices in Geneva protesting against the China’s inhuman treatments of Tibetans and Uighurs. (Photo courtesy: Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

(TibetanReview.net, Nov14’20) – The Foreign Policy Commission of the National Council, the Upper House of Swiss Parliament, has on Nov 9 called on the country’s Federal Council to submit a detailed report to Parliament on the implementation of its human rights dialogue with China and also on the situation of Tibetans in Switzerland, according to the Tibet Bureau, Geneva, Nov 14. The call was reported to have been in response to a petition on the human rights of Tibetans in Tibet and in Switzerland made way back in Sep 2018; it set the stage for the two postulates to be discussed by the parliament next year.

The petition was stated to have been submitted Sep 18, 2018 by the Society for Threatened Peoples with the Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association (GSTF). The petition, signed by over 11,000 Swiss citizens, called for a more active Swiss engagement at international level over China on the human rights situation in Tibet and for the protection of the culture and language of Tibetans.

The Commission, made up of 25 council members, was stated to have adopted the above two postulates after the President’s deciding vote when the vote was tied with 12 in favour and 12 against.

Postulate 20.4334 was stated to call on the Federal Council to submit to the Parliament a report on the implementation of the bilateral dialogue between Switzerland and China on human rights and to seek answer to the status, implementation and future plans of the Federal Council on the dialogue process. And postulate 20.4333 was stated to call on the Federal Council to submit a detailed report on the “situation of Tibetans in Switzerland, particularly with regard to freedom of expression and surveillance.”

The second postulate bears significance in the context of recent reports about Chinese surveillance on Tibetans living in Switzerland as well as in New York and Sweden.

Mr Nicolas Walder, Member of the National Council as well as of the Foreign Policy Commission, has said, “We are asking the Swiss government for a report on the result of the so-called constructive dialogue on human rights since several decades.”

The Swiss National Council will discuss and vote on the two postulates in its Mar 2021 session.


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