Speaker Penpa Tsering of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile speaking at the 6th World Parliamentarians' Convention on Tibet in Ottawa, Canada, on April 27, 2012. (Photo/tibetonline.tv)
DHARAMSHALA, May 1: A group of international parliamentarians has offered to work with members of the Chinese National People’s Congress in finding out the real causes of continued protests in Tibet, heralded off late by the wave of self-immolations.
Over 50 lawmakers from Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and Oceania, on the final day of the 6th World Parliamentarian’s Conference on Tibet in Ottawa, made the offer with the unanimous adoption of the Ottawa Declaration on April 29.
The parliamentarians offered to “work with members of the National People’s Congress to jointly ascertain the causes of protest and unrest in Tibet, including the self-immolations,” while acknowledging the “growing movement for democratic change among the Chinese people.”
The Declaration noted with “disappointment” the lack of progress in the Sino-Tibet dialogue process and reiterated the need for “constructive dialogue” at the highest level between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the democratically elected political leaders of the Central Tibetan Administration.
The parliamentarians went on to “urge leaders of all governments and relevant international organisations to support and promote this dialogue and to engage the government of the PRC in the potential for serious consequences should it scrap its constitutional and legal provisions on autonomy.”
Expressing “alarm” at the continuing “grave violations” of human rights in Tibet, the lawmakers said they were “deeply concerned” at PRC’s policies and practices that “destroy, repress, or discourage” the preservation of the distinct identity of the Tibetan people.
The Conference conveyed its “firm belief that unilateral action in Tibet by the government authorities of the People’s Republic of China, such as the imposition of new policies that do not reflect the aspirations of the Tibetan people, cannot lead to a solution.”
While expressing solidarity with the Tibetan people in their “non-violent struggle for their rights and freedoms including the right to determine their own destiny,” the Declaration noted that the role of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in bringing about a negotiated solution was “indispensable.”
The parliamentarians committed to keep the Tibet issue on the agendas of their respective parliaments and further declared that they will persuade their own governments to address Tibet in high-level discussions with the Government of the PRC.
The Ottawa Declaration also urged governments to create “multilateral mechanisms” to address the situation in Tibet and, in particular, called on the European Union to implement the European Parliament resolution for the appointment of a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Affairs.
Speaking at the opening of the Conference, the Dalai Lama had noted that the Tibetan spirit is becoming stronger amidst growing Chinese repression in Tibet.
"Don't feel hopeless or feel discouraged," the Dalai Lama told the gathering of parliamentarians and guests, including actor Richard Gere, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. "The more suppression, the stronger the Tibetan spirit."