- Mr Kjaerum Morten - Director, European Union for Fundamental Rights
Abducted aged 6 and detained for 15 years. He is still the youngest political prisoner in the world.
Dear Mr Morten
Since the age of 6 Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the genuine Panchen Lama of Tibet, has been a political prisoner of the Chinese regime. On April 25 this year Gedhun Choekyi Nyima will be 21 years of age. He has now had 15 years of his life taken away from him, many would say stolen, by the Chinese regime. And the organization which you represent has done nothing to bring about an end to what is in fact, state-sponsored kidnapping of a child and his illegal detention under international law.
The position you occupy and those of your colleagues, includes ethical obligations and responsibilities to ensure the human rights of vulnerable people are protected. No one could be more vulnerable than a 6 year old child who represents the religious and cultural aspirations of his people as the second highest leader in Tibet, particularly when his people are subjected to the harshest possible treatment by a regime intent on wiping out all Tibetan national characteristics and assimilating them into the Han majority.
For 15 years your agency, under the name of human rights, has allowed itself, either deliberately or naively, to be side-tracked by the Chinese regime's fraudulent claims that due to the Panchen Lama's young age, they took him under their protection at the request of his parents to avoid being abducted by Tibetan "splittists", that the Panchen Lama and his family want to be left alone to lead an ordinary life, and other such false claims. Well the Panchen Lama is now an adult of of 21 years of age and no amount of false claims by the Chinese regime can be legally, ethically or morally acceptable to your agency to justify his continued disappearance and detention, however much the Chinese regime seek to legitimize such claims or however much you acquiesce or appease to them.
The situation of the Panchen Lama and his family remains a criminal act under international law by a regime which pays only the most superficial lip service to the outside world regarding the rights of its own citizens, and none to those living in the territories it occupies. In many people's view, for your agency to continue to ignore the illegal detention of the Panchen Lama, puts you merely one step above the regime which abducted him.
At no time have you acted to independently verify the well-being of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family by insisting to the Chinese regime on a face to face meeting with the family, or even at the most minimal level have you obtained an up to date photograph of him. Neither have you investigated witnesses who stated they saw the Panchen Lama and his family in Nagchu and Golmud, Tibet just 3 days after the Dalai Lama named Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the Panchen Lama of Tibet, that Chinese forces attempted to seperate him from his family, to which the family resisted, and at which point the entire family were put on a plane bound for China where nothing has been seen or heard from them since 1995.
This clear case of state-sponsored abduction raises the following questions: is your agency seriously willing to accept that the Panchen Lama and his family voluntarily agreed to be disappeared, surrender their human rights and be held incommunicado with the outside world for 15 years? Such an acceptance strains any credibility beyond belief which your agency may have left. Or, as in the view of many people, has your agenda on human rights been hi-jacked in favor of cheap trade with China?
The European Union Charter on Human Rights states that such rights are universal and indivisible. Its overview goes on to state: "All agreements on trade or cooperation with third countries contain a clause stipulating that human rights are an essential element in the relations between the parties. There are now more than 120 such agreements". Where has the clause on human rights, which is such an "essential element", been acted on in the case of China's abduction and detention of the Panchen Lama and its accompanying lack of fundamental human rights and freedom? Or indeed objective 1 of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights: "The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the right to freedom of movement within the borders of a state and the right to leave any country, including one's own, and return to one's country of origin" ? It is obvious that these principles have not been upheld and that the E.U. has consistently and shamefully ignored them in favor of cheap trade with China at the expense of the most basic human rights of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family.
When the E.U. signed the Strategic Partners Agreement with China in 2006, just 2 months later it demanded repayments approaching 2 million euros from a charity, of which the Dalai Lama was patron, which was providing clean water, medical clinics and basic equipment for heating and cooking to Tibetans in Amdo, Tibet. All of these projects had already been completed by the charity with the full knowledge, approval and co-finance of the E.U. Needless to say, the charity was bankrupted by the actions of the E.U. and is no longer operating. It is extremely difficult not to see a connection between the woeful and unethical lack of action by the E.U. on the illegal 15 year detention of the Panchen Lama and the lucrative trade agreements it has with China. No doubt if such an abduction took place to a relative of an E.U. official by a country with no such trade agreements, decisive action would have been taken against the abductors using the full force of international law.
It is absolutely clear that the E.U. has seriously failed to uphold its core values on human rights and the rule of law embedded in its founding principals. We, the signatories of this petition demand that the E.U. enforce these core principals by taking immediate and permanent action to ensure that Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family are released from China's illegal detention to a place of their own choosing where they can exercise the human rights which are fundamental to them as human beings. Rights which the rest of us in free socieities take for granted. Anything less than this makes the founding principals of the E.U. not worth the paper they are written on.
The The Panchen Lama - 15 Years of Silence and Neglect petition to Mr Kjaerum Morten - Director, European Union for Fundamental Rights was written by Molly Flanders and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.