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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Declaration of the 5th World Parliamentarian's Convention on Tibet

November 22, 2009

Tibet Office Switzerland
18-19 November 2009, Rome, Italy

I. PREAMBLE

The Fifth World Parliamentarians’ Convention on
Tibet, meeting in Rome on the 18th and 19th of November 2009 –

Defends the right of the Tibetan people to their
own identity, culture and way of life;

Reaffirms its strong commitment to the people of
Tibet and to the non-violent path they have
chosen, under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama;

Reaffirms the critical role played by parliaments
and parliamentary bodies in raising awareness of
the difficult situation in Tibet within
governments and international institutions and in
formulating policies for the benefit of the Tibetan people;

Recalls the four previous meetings of the World
Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet, the
resolutions and action programmes they have
generated, and the impact of the resultant activities and initiatives;

Seeks a resolution for Tibet that guarantees
genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within
the framework of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China; and

Proclaims that the message of the World
Parliamentarians’ Conference on Tibet is
resolutely not anti-Chinese but a statement of
support for justice and truth with a sincere
conviction that the Tibetan and Chinese peoples
can find a way to coexist with mutual respect.

II. FINDINGS

The Fifth World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet,

FINDING that since the last meeting of the World
Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet in 2005 the
situation in Tibet has deteriorated due to the
government of the People’s Republic of China’s
imposition of harsh measures on Tibetans and its
harder line taken toward the Dalai Lama and his pursuit of autonomy;

MOTIVATED by the political protests that began in
March 2008 in which Tibetans across the Tibetan
plateau expressed their anguish in an
unprecedented and overwhelmingly peaceful manner
in response to the continuing repressive policies of Chinese authorities;

CONCERNED that Chinese authorities responded to
the protests with a security crackdown across the
Tibetan plateau that includes the documented
detention of 735 Tibetans for exercising rights
such as freedom of speech, religion, assembly and association;

OUTRAGED at the execution of Tibetans without
following international standards of due process of law;

RECOGNIZING that the People’s Republic of China,
as it seeks to be a responsible member of the
international community, should acknowledge that
with such status come duties and responsibilities
to protect and respect those peoples under its
control pursuant to international standards of
justice and human rights as enshrined in the
United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

RECOGNIZING that the People’s Republic of China
has a moral responsibility to address the
legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people
through fair administration of rule of law under
international standards of justice, respect for
freedom of religion and expression, protection of
the Tibetan people’s right to express their
cultural identity and way of life, and implementation of genuine autonomy;

ACKNOWLEDGING the recent documentation by United
Nations bodies, including the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights
Council and the Committee Against Torture,
national governments and non-governmental
organizations, of the systemic violations of the
human rights of the Tibetan people by Chinese authorities;

ACKNOWLEDGING that the People’s Republic of China
has signed and ratified the U.N. Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but regrets
serious gaps in its implementation, which is a
root cause of Tibetan discontent;

RECOGNIZING the need for continuing support for
both long-staying and newly-arriving refugees
from Tibet, many of whom are young children,
including in the areas of humanitarian
assistance, education, health, and revitalization of settlements;

CONCERNED by the environmental degradation on the
Tibetan plateau, the so-called “Third Pole,” as a
result of climate change caused by greenhouse gas
emissions, the mismanagement of natural resources
by Chinese governmental and commercial interests,
and the resettlement of Tibetan nomads into fixed
communities, which separates them from their
traditional livelihood and stewardship of Tibetan grasslands;

RECOGNIZING that Chinese policies to mitigate and
adapt to the effects of climate change on the
Tibetan plateau affect billions of people in
Asia, and that the involvement and experience of
Tibetans is integral to the successful
implementation of climate change policies;

RECOGNIZING the invaluable contributions,
financially and in other forms of support, by
governments and citizens toward the well being of
the Tibetan people and their effort to sustain
their identity, particularly the host nation
support by the government and people of India;

RECOGNIZING that international and governmental
statements in support for dialogue in the wake of
the protests that began in March 2008 were
critical in setting the stage for the rounds of
dialogue that occurred later in that year;

RECOGNIZING that in order for the negotiations
between the Chinese government and the
representatives of the Dalai Lama to be effective
it is essential that the format of the
negotiations be transparent and with the
involvement of appropriate international supervision;

CONCLUDING that His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
despite the continuing occupation of Tibet, is
sincere in seeking a “middle path” solution for Tibet, not independence;

CONCLUDING that the Memorandum on Genuine
Autonomy for the Tibetan People proposed by the
representatives of the Dalai Lama embodies his
vision for genuine autonomy within the
constitutional framework of the People’s Republic of China;

CONSIDERING the experiences of the many
autonomous regions around the world, for instance
Trentino-South Tyrol in Italy, which have shown
that conflicts can be overcome by respecting the
fundamental rights of distinct peoples and ethnic
and linguistic minorities and enabling them to
exercise the right to self-government while
respecting territorial integrity of the state;

AFFIRMING the value of non-violence in mitigating
conflict and misunderstanding and the potential
of non-violent leadership as embodied by His
Holiness the Dalai Lama for peace and stability
in the People’s Republic of China; and

REAFFIRMING the resolutions and declarations made
at all previous World Parliamentarians’
Conferences on Tibet, including the recognition
of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan
Government in exile as the legitimate representatives of the Tibetan people.

III. ACTIONS

THEREFORE, the Convention is resolved to:

EXPRESS SUPPORT for substantive negotiations
between the Chinese government and the
representatives of the Dalai Lama toward a
meaningful resolution of the Tibet issue, with
the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy as a realistic
and constructive basis for such negotiations;

CALL ON governments to urge the People’s Republic
of China to fully respect the Tibetan people’s
fundamental human rights and freedoms and to
acknowledge their right to authentically
participate in all issues regarding their present and future well-being;

URGE national governments to acknowledge that
third-party facilitation is essential for the
resumption of the dialogue and to guarantee its transparency;

CALL ON the People’s Republic of China to ratify
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

ENCOURAGE governments to explore multinational
mechanisms to work collaboratively on the
challenges of climate change in Tibet, including
with the direct participation of Tibetan
stakeholders. To this end, participants of this
convention will draft and publish an open letter
expressing the key importance of Tibet as the
“Third Pole” prior to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen;

COMMIT to engage relevant governments and
institutions to ensure that His Holiness the
Dalai Lama is welcomed appropriately when meeting
with various government leaders and officials;

COMMIT to building capacity within national
governments for dissemination of information and
the implementation of policies on Tibet, such as
the identification or establishment of an office
within the Executive Branch of government to handle Tibet affairs;

COMMIT to identify members of an international
parliamentarians network for Tibet. The network,
in consultation with the Tibetan
Parliament-in-exile, will identify a secretariat.
The network will facilitate greater coordination
between parliamentary groups, share best
practices, and be sufficiently supported in the
international advancement of a near-term action plan to include:

(1) introducing a resolution or motion in
parliaments reflecting the principal elements of
the World Parliamentarians’ Conference on Tibet Declaration;

(2) requesting a full briefing on the Tibetan
policy advanced by their governments, including
in multilateral fora, in the areas of human
rights, environment, security, development and
other economic assistance and geopolitics;

(3) seeking tangible national and local
governmental and private support for programmes
that provide assistance to Tibetan communities,
including inside Tibet and to long-staying and new refugees from Tibet;

(4) engaging in parliamentary exchanges with
Chinese legislators and in outreach to Chinese constituents;

(5) visiting Tibet as part of a multi-national
parliamentary delegation with the intent of
determining the situation on the ground,
including the status of Tibetan nomads and political prisoners;

(6) organizing parliamentary hearings before the
foreign affairs and/or human rights committees
with Tibetan representatives and, if they accept,
Chinese government representatives to discuss the
political and humanitarian situation in Tibet;

(7) promoting a campaign to gather the support
for, endorsement of, and signature on this
declaration by parliamentarians of democratic
national and local governments, political
parties, community leaders, religious
organizations, Nobel Peace Laureates, opinion
makers and all citizens of goodwill in the world.
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