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Declaration of Unity of the Tenth Interethnic Interfaith Leadership Conference

Declaration of Unity of the Tenth Interethnic Interfaith Leadership Conference

April 30, 2015
Washington DC, USA

We, the delegates to the Tenth Interethnic/Interfaith Leadership Conference, held from April 26 to 30, 2015 in Washington, DC with the theme of “Building A Free Democratic Homeland with Citizen Power: Prospects and Pathways,” recalled recent human rights and democratic movements in each of our communities, and looked ahead at the challenges and opportunities facing all of us.

Despite the worsening human rights conditions and the grim prospects for an immediate democratic transition in our homelands, we are encouraged by the unremitting struggle by our brothers and sisters, both free and incarcerated, living or dead, and we feel uplifted by the ever stronger civic awareness and citizen self-empowerment.

We unequivocally condemn the Chinese Communist regime’s new round of severe repression. They have cracked down on activists in each of the ethnic and religious communities in the past year. Fire engulfed 14 young Tibetans who gave their lives to protest against the Chinese Communist regime’s human rights abuses, claiming a total of 138 innocent lives; the regime shamelessly handed down life sentence to peaceful Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti for expressing his views and advocating for ethnic harmony; the regime killed, injured or arrested many Southern Mongolian villagers for protecting their homeland from ruin by industrial pollution; the 71-year-old independent journalist Gao Yu was given a seven-year prison sentence for so-called “illegally providing state secrets abroad,” and even women’s right activists were detained and mistreated; the Hong Kong people’s cry for universal suffrage was completely ignored; Taiwan’s democracy continues to be consistently threatened; the persecution of Christians and Falun Gong practitioners has persisted, including massive church demolitions and horrific organ harvesting. On April 15, 2015, China’s State Council Information Office released another frenzied white paper on Tibet that is just another attempt to deny truth about history,demonize the Dalai Lama and whitewash the tragic reality in Tibet.

We strongly believe the above evil deeds are just like the darkest hours that precede the dawn, and it only shows that the Chinese Communist regime is indeed insecure, weak, and fearful of citizen power, and that its system of control has begun to crack from within.

At a time of profound peril, we firmly uphold the truth that human rights and freedom are our birthrights, and that our civil and political rights are bestowed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international legal documents, and no state shall take them away from us.

We also resolutely stand by our conviction that all people have the right to freely determine their own fate, choose their own political systems and pursue their own their economic, social, cultural and spiritual development.

We hereby reaffirm our commitment to universal values and constitutional democracy in which the human dignity and human rights of all peoples are respected, fundamental freedoms and social justice are secured, and all people live in peace, harmony and prosperity.

Once again, we renew our pledge that we shall consistently respect each other, offer mutual assistance, and pursue an open, sincere, frank, friendly and open dialogue among all parties, regardless of the hurdles, hardships or setbacks that we may face in the future.

In order to keep our commitments and fulfill our pledge, we hereby resolve to take the following action in the coming year:

1. Work together to call for the immediate release and secure the freedom of prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China including but not limited to Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Gao Yu, Liu Xiaobo, Panchen Lama, Ilham Tohti, Pu Zhiqiang, Hada, and Guo Feixiong, and in particular allowing Dr. Wang Bingzhang to return home to attend his daughter’s wedding.

2. Continue to support each other’s struggle for our civil and political rights, and strengthen our organization and form a broad-based united front through our permanent and improved Interethnic/Interfaith Solidarity Network and use this online platform to share information and exchange views, and recruit more youth to join our efforts.

3. Support Children of Prisoners of Conscience of China to raise international awareness of tens of thousands of political prisoners in the People’s Republic of China, and the hardship and suffering of their families, including the children of the self-immolated Tibetans and killed Uyghurs.

4. Increase the activities of our coalition to promote the passage of the Global Magnitsky legislation, which would ban entry of individual human rights abusers to the United States and freeze their assets. It would also provide the first group of names of the worst human rights abusers from each of our communities.

5. Create a task force within the network to work together with other international human rights NGOs to call for U.S. Congress to pass a China Democracy Act and encourage the U.S. presidential candidates in the 2016 election to restore and implement a human rights-focused foreign policy.

6. Formulate strategies and plans to launch an environmental initiative as a unifying issue to mobilize all peoples to protect their air, water, land, food and children.

7. Use this platform to end the discrimination against Uyghurs, Tibetans, Southern Mongolians and other ethnic groups, including refusal of passport issuance, travel restrictions, denial of hotel stay and other discriminatory practices.

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