The Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and its 43 regional chapters worldwide declare the year 2005 as the International Year of the 11th Panchen Lama.
On 14 May 1995, a 6 year-old boy named Gendhun Choekyi Nyima was officially declared by H.H. the Dalai Lama as the legitimate reincarnate of the 10th Panchen Lama who passed away under mysterious circumstances in January 1989. Three days after the Dalai Lama’s declaration, the young Panchen Lama his family disappeared. In November 1995, the government of People’s Republic of China (PRC) illegally appointed another 6 year old boy named Gyancain Norbu as the reincarnate Panchen Lama.
On 28 May 1996, a year after the Panchen Lama’s disappearance, the Chinese government said it is holding the boy and his parents in “protective custody.” Since then the PRC government gave no information whatsoever on the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama. TWA is deeply concerned about the health and safety of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, who is now 15 years old.
Concerted efforts and requests for access to the Panchen Lama from the Tibetans, Tibet support groups, human rights organizations, and government officials have failed. In 1998, the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Mary Robinson was denied access to the Panchen Lama by the Chinese officials.
The Panchen Lama has been detained incommunicado for nearly 10 long years amid growing concern and questions regarding his whereabouts and condition. Over the years, Tibetan NGO’s and Tibetan supporters around the globe have consistently campaigned and lobbied for the Panchen Lama’s freedom, which helped enormously in generating awareness and worthwhile support. Nevertheless, TWA believes that this campaign needs to be more vigorous and intensive. The case of Panchen Lama gains more urgency with each passing day. We cannot afford to wait for another April 25th to go by with no sight of the Panchen Lama. His captivity is an opportunity for the PRC to indoctrinate his young and impressionable mind.
With deep concern and sense of urgency, TWA declares 2005 as the year of the Panchen Lama. Aims & Objectives of 2005 – the International Year of the Panchen Lama:
Tentative programs and activities planned for the year 2005 includes but not limited to the following:
- To secure the freedom of Panchen Lama and his parents from captivity
- To ensure fundamental rights of the Tibetans are respected by the PRC especially freedom of religion
- To mobilize worldwide support for Panchen Lama’s release at the grassroots, governmental, inter-governmental, and inter parliamentary levels
- To obtain independent access by a special rapporteur appointed by the UN to the Panchen Lama
- To dedicate the year 2005 as the International Year of the Panchen Lama
- Panchen Lama Birthday Greetings campaign on 25 April 2005
- Poetry competition on the Panchen Lama among school kids
- “Run for Panchen Lama” marathon competition
- “Free Panchen Lama” postcard campaign
- Distribution of free Panchen Lama materials and literature (posters, stickers, info kits, etc)
- Online sign-up petitions on TWA website
- Peach March; candle light vigils, prayer ceremony etc.
- To observe International Children’s Day on November 20th
- Send petitions to the United Nations and related committees
- Extensive distribution of “Tibet’s Stolen Child”, a video documentary on the Panchen Lama
TWA request fellow Tibetans, Tibet Support Groups, organizations, parliamentarians, governments, and diplomats to join us in achieving the release of the Panchen Lama.