The 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Photo: File

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Washington, DC – “We call on the PRC Government to immediately make public the Tibetan-venerated Panchen Lama’s whereabouts and to give us this opportunity to meet with the Panchen Lama in person,” said Spokesperson Ned Price on Gedhun Choekyi Nyima's 32nd birthday.

On the 32nd anniversary of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima's birth, the United States reiterated its strong call for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama. “We call on the PRC Government to immediately make public the Tibetan-venerated Panchen Lama’s whereabouts and to give us this opportunity to meet with the Panchen Lama in person,” said Ned Price, the spokesperson for the United States Department of State.

In 1995, the six-year-old boy vanished after His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognised him as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama, Tibetan Buddhism's second most senior figure. Since then, no one knows where he is being kept or where he is currently residing. Despite the demands of the United Nations, the European Union, and human rights organisations for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama, the Chinese government has refused to reveal his whereabouts.

“April 25th will mark the 32nd birthday of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama who was forced to spend another year disappeared, separated from his community, and denied his rightful place as a prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader,” the spokesperson said.

“We call on the PRC Government to immediately make public the Tibetan-venerated Panchen Lama’s whereabouts and to give us this opportunity to meet with the Panchen Lama in person,” Ned Price concluded.

“The Commission’s mandate is to promote and defend the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And one of the many things the commission does is advocate the release of Prisoners of Conscience around the world. Prisoners of conscience are people whose freedom has been taken away from them without any real justification even though they’ve neither used nor advocated violence. Often people are imprisoned because of who they are. Sadly, there are many prisoners of conscience in the world. And one of them is Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Pachen Lama of Tibetan Buddhism”, said Congressman Jim McGovern, Co-chair of Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, an official bipartisan body in the United States House of representatives.

“He should be free because he has the moral and legal right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion including the right to practice his religion as he chooses. He should be freed because he is still a young man and is the right thing to do. So happy birthday Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. May this year be the year, we have the privilege to meet in person”, Congressman Jim McGovern concluded.

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