Geneva: Tibetans in Switzerland in Liechtenstein held a peaceful march to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council office, on 11 March, paralleling the ongoing 43rd regular session of the council.
The demonstration also marked the 100th peaceful processions in front of the UN Human Rights Council by the Swiss-based Tibetan Solidarity Movement group. The Solidarity Movement group of five Tibetan families organizes peaceful protest in front of the UN every second Wednesday since 2012.
Addressing the gathering, Representative Chhimey Rigzen, Tibet Bureau- Geneva, briefed on an overview of the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet. Representative Chhimey urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to include Tibet in her expected visit itinerary to China, this year. UN High Commissioners’ visit to China is “incomplete without looking into the ground reality of Tibet”, added Representative Chhimey.
While commending the peaceful activities and devoted activism of the Solidarity Movement group, Representative offered scarf and thanked all the members of the Solidarity group’s five families. He implored fellow Tibetans to be more diligent and counter China’s narrative on Tibet rather than engaging in trivial issues.
Mr Jampa Samdho, Europe member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, expressed his deepest respect for all who have sacrificed their lives for Tibet. Appreciating five families of the solidarity movement group for all their devoted Tibet advocacy efforts, Jampa Samdho spoke about how the Chinese government consistently extends its repression in Tibet including Hi-tech surveillances.
Mr Tsamda Norbu, President of the Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, also addressed the gathering, and later met the concerned officer of the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights. In his meeting with the UN officer, Mr Tsamda briefed the current situation in Tibet and presented an appeal letter detailing seven human rights key issues in Tibet. The appeal letter also called for the UN High Commissioner to include Tibet in her expected visit to China.
The guest speaker of the event, Rene Longet, former mayor and former member of Swiss Parliament, reaffirmed continued friendship and support for Tibet. Recalling circumstances that led Tibetans to flee the country, Rene Longet called for concerted efforts from all sides to ensure peace and freedom in Tibet.
Mr Tashi Khadhakpa, Board Member of Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association, gave an overview of Swiss-Tibetan Friendship membership composition and on the importance of unity in achieving Tibetan’s collective aspiring goal of bringing His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his rightful seat in Tibet.
Ms Dekyi Santamaria, President of the Swiss Tibetan Women Association, expressed concern over continued deteriorating situation inside Tibet including China’s ecological exploitation and environmental destruction in Tibet. On behalf of the Swiss-Tibetan Women Association, she called upon world leaders to pay heed to the alarming ecological disaster in Tibet in recent years and its consequences to the global ecology.
Jigme Adotsang, Co-President of Tibetan Youth Association in Europe, voiced concern over ongoing repression in China occupied Tibet and reaffirmed Tibetans’ continued resistance against China’s oppression and repression.
While giving an overview on the inception of the group and its activities, Mr Kunchok Thaktsang, a leading family of the Tibetan Solidarity Movement, thanked all individuals, organizations and Tibet Bureau Geneva for unconditional support for their activities all these past years. Along with Mr Tsamda Norbu, President of the Tibetan Community, he presented the 100th appeal letter to the UN by the Solidarity Movement Group.
Respecting Swiss government’s direction restricting all large public gatherings in wake of COVID 19, the demonstration could only be joined by executive members, representatives of the various organizations, family members of the Tibetan Solidarity group among others.
-Filed by Tibet Bureau, Geneva