By Tenzin Dharpo
An undated photo of the deceased Tashi Namgyal.
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 12: A Tibetan youth has reportedly committed suicide in the Swiss city of Lucerne earlier on Thursday evening. The Lucerne public prosecutor's office issued a public notice with a photo of the deceased asking for anyone to come forward with more information.
The deceased now identified as Tashi Namgyal, killed himself while laying on the railway-track between the Emmenbrücke station and Olten station and was fatally run over by the oncoming train in the early hours of Sept. 7 around 9:50 local time.
A Tibetan living there spoke to Phayul on the condition of anonymity that police discovered two letters from the deceased. One was addressed to the United Nations to which he had appealed for the plight of Tibet under Chinese rule and wrote that the global watchdog’s inaction was disheartening.
The other letter was addressed to the Swiss government to whom he, the source said, appealed for the asylum of close to 300 Tibetans who were asked to leave the country by Berne recently. The deceased, a newly arrived refugee himself, wrote that the decision of the Swiss government made him, “lose all hope” and felt helpless under the circumstances.
The source also said that the deceased had not applied for asylum in Switzerland hence the government authorities could not find any records of him on the official channels. Tibetans in Lucerne in an online post mentioned that the community “deeply mourns the death of the fellow brother”. They will be holding a prayer for the deceased this Thursday.
Close to 300 hundred Tibetans whose application for asylum was inadmissible were asked to leave the country, following which representatives from Tibetan community including representatives from Office of Tibet and the Secretary of Swiss Immigration office along with local Tibetans gathered in Zurich to discuss the rising number of refugees and their situation.
Since June last year, Tibetans were officially recognized to be Chinese indicating a shift in the government’s foreign policy towards Tibet and deemed it to be a part of People’s Republic of China. Although the Berne administration has claimed that the change in policy have not affected Tibetan refugee’s eligibility for asylum, approval ratings for Tibetan asylum seekers have fallen drastically over the years. Only 54.8% of the Tibetan applicants qualified in 2016 compared to 71.8% in 2015 and 85.8% in 2014, Swiss media reported.
The Berne government had been one of the most accommodating nations towards Tibetans since Tibet’s annexation by China in 1959. Switzerland accepted the first batch of Tibetan refugees in as early as the 1960s with the help of Red Cross. As per an exile Tibetan government (Central Tibetan Administration), there are over four thousand Tibetans living in Switzerland today.