Ottawa, May 21, 2020 – To mark the 25th anniversary of the disappearance of 11th Panchen Lama – Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, 21 Members of Parliament and Senator from Canada signed a letter calling for Canada’s support for the immediate release of Panchen Lama and his entire family, and for an independent fact-finding mission to assess the human rights violations perpetrated against Tibetans in Tibet and other regions in China.
The letter highlights China’s interference in the sacred Buddhist traditions of recognizing the reincarnation of lamas and how it sets a dangerous precedent for possible interference in the process of identifying the reincarnations of future Dalai Lamas.
Since 1995, several governments, including Canadian governments, have requested permission to visit the Panchen Lama in order to verify his safety and well-being. Efforts by human rights organizations including the UN Committee Against Torture, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, have been unsuccessful.
In May 2018, a group of Tibetan representatives appointed by China visited Ottawa and testified before Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. During the testimony, Canadian MP Garnett Genuis asked the delegates on whereabouts of Panchen Lama and his family. The delegates responded that Panchen Lama is living a private life and does not wish to be disturbed.
“It’s high time for the international community to stand a real, strong stand against the human rights violations China commit on regular basis in Tibet, East Turkistan and other parts of China”, said Sherap Therchin, Executive Director of Canada Tibet Committee. “the pattern of China interfering in human rights development internationally that we see today started with Tibet about 60 years ago.”
Tibet’s Panchen Lama was just six years old when Chinese authorities abducted him. Since then, neither he nor his family has been seen or heard.
List of parliamentarians who signed/endorsed the letter:
- MP Randall Garrison, National Democratic Party
- MP Paul Manly, Green Party of Canada
- MP Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada
- MP Jenica Atwin Green Party of Canada
- MP Garnett Genuis, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Ziad Aboultaif, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Colin Carrie, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Kerry Diotte, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Jasraj Singh Hallan, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Marty Morantz, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Scott Reid, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Nelly Shin, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Karen Vecchio, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Arnold Viersen, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Cathay Wagantall, Conservative Party of Canada
- MP Arif Virani, Liberal Party of Canada
- MP James Maloney, Liberal Party of Canada
- MP Sven Spengemann, Liberal Party of Canada
- MP Larry Bagnell, Liberal Party of Canada
- Senator Mobina Jaffer
To view the letter, click here.