Tibetan takes own life on Swiss rail line in protest

Image shows Tashi Namgyal (centre, front) at football match
Image shows Tashi Namgyal (centre, front) at football match

15th September 2017

A note has since been released confirming that Tashi Namgyal's suicide was a protest against the occupation and an effort to raise awareness about the situation in Tibet

A 32-year-old Tibetan took his own life in Switzerland on the morning on 7 September. Tashi Namgyal, who died on a trainline between the towns of Emmenbruke and Olten, had only been living in Switzerland since mid-July having arrived from the Tibetan Settlement of Orrisa (Odhisha) in southern India.

It has since been confirmed that his act was a protest against the Chinese occupation of Tibet. 

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Police found two statements next to Tashi Namgyal's body, including one which outlined six points:

1) His appeal to the United Nations around the issue of Tibet

2) His hope that the Dalai Lama should be welcomed to Tibet

3) His request that the rights of Tibetan political asylum-seekers in Switzerland – and Tibetans in distress – be recognised

4) His suicide was entirely his own decision

5) His hope that through this non-violent act, the world will become more aware about the Tibetan issue

6) Finally his hope that his family would acknowledge his bold act

Tashi Namgyal's father, Dorjee Tseten, said: “I have six children… I never thought he would resort to such step. I feel sad as well as proud that he sacrificed his life for this cause''.

A Tibetan Settlement officer in Orissa stated: “He was elected twice as Village Leader … and was a committed person in the settlement."

It remains unclear why Tashi Namgyal travelled to Switzerland, and whether he was among a group of Tibetans officially listed for deportation by the Swiss authorities at the time of his death. Around 300 Tibetans stationed at an immigrants’ resettlement camp have recently been ordered to leave Switzerland on the grounds that they do not possess the necessary documentation to seek political asylum in the Alpine nation.

Tashi Namgyal's family is trying to seek every possible means to take the custody of his body, although it is not yet clear if and when they will be able to do so.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

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32-year-old Tashi Namgyal took his own life - in part due to the terrible circumstances for Tibetans living within Tibet. The country remains one of the least-free places on Earth with arbitary arrest and detention a commonplace occurrence.

Stand alongside Tibet's many political prisoners and demand that the Chinese authorities reveal the inmates' locations!