Geneva: In the backdrop of the international outrage on the Swiss-China deal which provided all-expense trip of Chinese agents for interviewing deportation targets, a group of concerned Swiss citizens premiered a documentary on the conditions of rejected Tibetan asylum seekers in Switzerland at the Solothurn film festival.
The 20-minute documentary titled “All we have is our voice: Tibetan Sans-Papiers in Switzerland” was directed by renowned documentarist and filmmaker Christian Labhart and his wife Heidi Schmid. It brings together ten Tibetans and five Swiss people 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 their journey of learning and supporting their Tibetan mentees. Talking about the documentary, Christian Labhart said in an interview with a local Swiss newspaper that, “it’s a no-budget film, as much direct and clear as possible. No make-up and without filter.” The documentary is a collaboration of various volunteers and Tibet supporters. More details about the documentary are available Tibetan Sans-papier website hosted and maintained by long-time Tibet supporter and mentor Mr. Jens Burow.
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 around 300 rejected Tibetan asylum seekers in Switzerland. The petition has so far received 1300 signatures and will be submitted to the Swiss authorities on 10 March, coinciding with the 62nd Tibetan National Uprising Day.
Thanking the Tibet supporters for highlighting the problems faced by the rejected Tibetan asylum seekers in Switzerland, Representative Chhimey Rigzen at Tibet Bureau Geneva noted that “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.”
The trailer of the documentary can be viewed here and the joint petition can be signed here.