Geneva: The Tibetan Youth Association in Europe, Tibetan Women’s Association of Switzerland, the Tibetan Community of Switzerland and Liechtenstein and the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association jointly organized a protest march in the Swiss city of Zurich on 17 May 2021, marking the 26th year of the enforced disappearance of Tibet’s 11th Panchen Lama Gendhun Choekyi Nyima. The four organizations also issued a joint memorandum sent to Chinese Consulates both in Zurich and Bern demanding access by international observers to Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family members and called for their immediate release.
The protest march started from the city center Werdmühleplatz and culminated in front of the Chinese Consulate in Zurich.
Swiss Parliamentarian and leader of the Green Party, Balthasar Glättli who addressed the gathering called for the immediate release of Panchen Lama and his family members. He noted that “It’s been 26 years since the young Panchen Lama was kidnapped. Kidnapping is a form of torture and extinction which is outlawed everywhere” and conveyed his continued strong support to Tibetans.
Swiss Parliamentarian and the Co-President of the Swiss Parliamentary Group for Tibet, Fabian Molina conveyed his support and solidarity to the Tibetan movement and its people. Speaking on the continued human rights violations in Tibet, he emphasized, “It is time that Switzerland, like many other European countries, finally stands up and says ‘stop.’ Human rights are not relative. There are no Chinese or European human rights. Human rights are for all humans in the world.”
Members of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile Jampa Samdo and Wangpo Tethong also addressed the marchers highlighting the day’s significance. President of the Tibetan Community of Switzerland and Lichtenstein Karma Choekyi, Vice-President of the Tibetan Women’s Association- Switzerland Passang Dolma, President of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe Tashi Shitsetsang and Board Member of Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association Kunsang Gangshontsang also addressed the gathering.
Representative Chhimey Rigzen, Tibet Bureau Geneva, could not attend the program due to prior official engagements. However, Representative Chhimey Rigzen sent a brief statement of support and commended the coordinated efforts of all the organizations in organizing the protest march.
In his statement, Representative Chhimey Rigzen echoed the concerns and appeals from Kashag and the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile seeking the release of His Eminence Tibet’s 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. He emphasized that “it is time to remind ourselves of the long way ahead of us. Let us not give up, let us continue our efforts to free Tibet’s 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.”