News and Views on Tibet

‘Disclose whereabouts of missing Tibetan singers,’ OMCT tells China

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DHARAMSHALA, June 25: Days before the world marks International Day in Support of Torture Victims, a major coalition of non-governmental organisations fighting against torture has asked for urgent intervention in the case of disappearance of two Tibetan singers.

The Geneva based World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has expressed grave concern about the safety of singers and songwriters Pema Trinley and Chakdor and their two associates, Khenrap and Nyagdompo. The whereabouts and fate of all four remain unknown.

Announcing an ‘Urgent Intervention,’ the International Secretariat of OMCT last week urged competent Chinese authorities to “guarantee physical and psychological integrity at all times, in accordance with international human rights law, in particular the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and to immediately locate and disclose the whereabouts” of the four Tibetans.

It was earlier learned that Pema Trinley, 22, and Chakdor, 32, both hailing from Meuruma nomadic village in Ngaba region of eastern Tibet were secretly sentenced by a Chinese court in February.

Trinley and Chakdor were detained in July 2012 from neighbouring Machu region in Malho days after the release of their music album, “Agony of Unhealed Wounds.”

The album contains songs about the current situation in Tibet including self-immolation protests, as well as songs in praise of the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, Kirti Rinpoche (exiled head of the Kirti monastery) and Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people.

Also, two other Tibetans, musician Khenrap and lyricist Nyagdompo, both of whom collaborated with the singers on their music album, also went missing.

Chakdor is also a close cousin of Tibetan self-immolator Choepa who passed away in his fiery protest on August 10, 2012.

As part of their urgent campaign, OMCT has requested its affiliate organisations to write to authorities in the People’s Republic of China urging them to “immediately locate and disclose the whereabouts” of the four Tibetans, “guarantee, in all circumstances, their physical and psychological integrity,” and grant them access to a lawyer of their choice and their families.

The network has also called for their “immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards,” while urging China to carry out “a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation” into the case and make their findings public.

“Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards,” the International Secretariat of OMCT implored China.

Created in 1985 and with 311 affiliated organisations, OMCT is considered the main coalition of international non-governmental organisations fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

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