On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance, The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy organised a panel discussion featuring three former political prisoners and a human rights researcher moderated by the Centre’s Tibetan researcher, Nyiwoe. The session started with an explanatory video delving into the experiences of Tibetans subjected to enforced disappearance. Subsequently, TCHRD’s executive director, Ms. Tenzin Dawa, underscored instances of enforced disappearance, citing significant cases like that of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, abducted after being recognised as the 11th Panchen Lama by the 14th Dalai Lama, and referencing UN experts’ concerns. The discussion commenced with former political prisoners succinctly sharing their grim experiences of torture and enforced disappearances. Mr. Gendun Rinchen recounted his arrest for disseminating human rights information as a tour guide, while Mr. Ngawang Woebar was arrested for protesting in Lhasa. Former prisoner Geshe Tsering Dorje described torture methods and the dire treatment of Tibetan prisoners, while Mr Wangden Kyab emphasised China’s ongoing violations of its constitution and international obligations.
On the 28th anniversary of the Chinese government’s arbitrary detention and subsequent enforced disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama Jetsun Tenzin Gedhun Yeshi Trinley Phuntsok Pal Sangpo, widely recognised by his lay name Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reiterates its call to the Chinese government to immediately and unconditionally release the Panchen Lama, his family members, and all the Tibetan political prisoners. TCHRD emphasises that without ensuring the Tibetan people’s fundamental human rights, including freedom of belief and religion, Chinese authorities can never hope to win the hearts and minds of Tibetans, let alone earn any legitimacy for its repressive policies and campaigns in Tibet.
TCHRD calls on the Chinese authorities to put an immediate end to the zero-Covid policy in all its forms and hold government officials responsible for the avoidable death of Nangchen Tashi’s grandson. A thorough and impartial investigation must be launched into this tragedy so that similar violations and unnecessary loss of life can be prevented in the future.