The three members of the Swiss Parliament who raised the issue of Tibet are Niklaus Gugger (L); Maya Graf (C) and Fabian Molina (R). Photo: File

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Geneva — Members of the Swiss Parliament known as Federal Assembly of Switzerland, questioned the federal government over Tibet and efficacy of Switzerland’s bilateral human rights dialogue with China. The government did not immediately respond to the queries but has agreed to response the interpellations at forthcoming Parliament's spring session.

MP Maya Graf, Vice President of Swiss Parliamentarian Group for Tibet, MP Fabian Molina and MP Niklaus Gugger, Members of Parliamentarian Group for Tibet, submitted interpellations supported by various other parliamentarians during the session that concluded on June 21, 2019, according to the Tibet Bureau in Geneva.

Raising the worsening human rights situation in Tibet and East Turkestan, including stringent restriction in freedom of movement, religious freedom and freedom of assembly, especially since Xi Jinping came into power, MP Maya Graf asked the government about the effectiveness of Switzerland’s bilateral human rights dialogue with China.

“Is the Federal Council willing to reconsider its fundamental assessment of the situation [Tibet and East Turkestan] and realign its policy towards China accordingly?” She also asked, “isn’t multilateral oriented strategy more effective than asymmetric bilateral dialogue with China?”

Referring to the allocation of resources for human rights dialogue and economic exchange with China, MP Niklaus Gugger said concerted results from bilateral human rights dialogues are “not visible”. MP Niklaus Gugger asked whether the federal government would step up “its effort in the field of human rights”?

The 16th round of human rights dialogue between Switzerland and China took place in Beijing, earlier this month. According to the Swiss federal council’s official press statement, the human rights situation in Tibet was raised “critically”.

The visit of UN High Commissioner to Tibet was also questioned. Referring Switzerland’s recommendation accepted by China in the Second Cycle Universal Periodic Review in 2013, MP Fabian Molina asked Switzerland’s, bilateral and multilateral, efforts in ensuring China allowing the visit of UN High Commissioner to China including Tibet and East Turkestan.

The Geneva-based Tibet Bureau said that the respective federal government of Switzerland will response the interpellations in the next spring session scheduled to take place in September this year.

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