DHARAMSHALA, November 22: Senior government officials in Switzerland, including the Swiss Foreign Ministry have expressed concerns over the “desperate situation” inside Tibet following the spate of self-immolations by Tibetans in Tibet as well as in India and Nepal.
According to the official website of the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration, the Swiss Foreign Ministry in a statement issued late Monday evening said that the self-immolations in Tibet and the desperation of the Tibetan people were “very worrying”.
The Ministry further stressed that the human rights situation in China and especially that of the Tibetans is a subject “regularly discussed” between Swiss and Chinese authorities.
Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, who is currently on a 12-day European visit, met with senior officials from the Swiss Foreign Ministry in the Swiss capital Bern yesterday.
Jointly addressing the press with Dr Sangay, the vice president of the Swiss Parliamentary Tibet group, Maya Graf called on China to respect the basic human rights of the Tibetan people.
Graf asserted that any trade agreement between Switzerland and China “must include” the issues of human rights and environment.
While thanking the Government of Switzerland for its humanitarian support to the Tibetans, Dr Sangay clarified that Tibetans were against the hard line repressive policies of the Chinese government and not the Chinese people.
“Tibetan people deserve freedom – religious, human rights and expression,” Dr Sangay told the press.
Switzerland being the first country outside Asia to officially accept Tibetan refugees, today, hosts the largest Tibetan community in Europe.
Arriving in Switzerland, Sunday, Dr Sangay spoke to an audience of around 600 Tibetans.
Referring to the 11 instances of self-immolation by Tibetans in Tibet since March this year, the 43-year old Harvard law graudate said that the sacrifices have once again highlighted the struggle for the survival of Tibetan culture and identity under China’s brutal rule.
“We must fulfil His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s wishes and ensure that the hard work done by the older generation is accomplished,” Dr Sangay said.
Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, who is on his first official tour of Europe since taking oath of office earlier this year, is scheduled to visit over half a dozen European countries.