Our film : All we have is our voice
Our desperate situation has remained unchanged for years: we, the rejected Tibetan asylum seekers, live under difficult conditions in Switzerland that only a few Swiss people are aware of. We have to live in emergency shelters and get along with emergency relief. We are not allowed to work. Many are punished for their illegal stay and get a restriction order. Due to the lack of papers, we cannot escape this situation on our own. A departure as requested by the authorities is not possible for us. Under the given circumstances, we do our best to integrate ourselves and develop a professional perspective. In doing so, we are emulating our compatriots, who are often cited in Switzerland as a prime example of successful integration.
Many of us have good language skills and a job offer after five years. But the legalization provided by the legislator via a hardship request is still denied because we cannot show any identity papers. Our efforts are not rewarded, our manpower is not used. So we have to let more years pass with no prospects. Only few Swiss people are aware of our fate. To draw attention to this grievance, Heidi Schmid and Christian Labhart have created a documentary that gives us a voice. We are very happy that this film was selected at the Solothurn Film Festival, where it will have its premiere at the end of January.
We would like to thank Heidi and Christian, the Filmgerberei, the sponsors and all the volunteers who contributed to the creation of this film for their great commitment. We hope that this topic will become known to a wider public and that a humanitarian solution will soon be found.
In order to support our cause, the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Society has launched a petition and submitted it on 10 March. May we ask you to point out this fault in your community and call on politicians to find a solution. If we are legalized and allowed to work, this also serves the Swiss welfare.
The following personalities support our demands:
“The Tibetan Sans-Papiers live here in Switzerland under difficult and inhuman conditions. In the absence of identity papers and after controversial LINGUA analyzes, their origin in Tibet, which is occupied by the communist People’s Republic of China, was not recognized. Despite diverse efforts to integrate, the approvals provided for in the legislation for hardship request from Tibetan sans-papiers are treated extremely restrictively by the SEM and are mostly rejected. Always new proofs of identity are demanded, which can hardly be obtained. A humanitarian solution to the untenable situation is now essential: we call on the Federal Council to remember Switzerland’s established and proven humanitarian tradition towards people who have fled Tibet. “
Thomas Büchli, President STFA (GSTF)
“Today around 250 of these so-called Tibetan“ Sans-Papiers ”are still living in a humanly untenable situation. Mostly young Tibetan refugees, some with small children, live without any prospect of a self-financed life in asylum shelters spread across Switzerland. Switzerland has to finance a meager survival for these people through daily allowances, the cost of accommodation and social assistance, although they would be quite ready and willing to work and provide for their own living. In the 1960s, Switzerland made it possible to take in 1,000 Tibetans. They and their compatriots, around 7,000 today, are among the best integrated former refugees in Switzerland! “
Jampa Tsering Samdho, member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile
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