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Second World Parliamentarians Convention Resolution on Tibet (1995) [p.366]




From: The Convention Organisers.

To the extent that the people of Tibet, are denied the right to self-determination which under international law guarantees them, they are denied their own democratically elected legislature, people elsewhere, who enjoy the priceless privilege of a democratically elected Parliament will not rest until this privilege is secured to the people of Tibet. The representatives of free people are required by a moral imperative to act for those who are denied freedom, such as the Tibetan people. The participants in the Delhi Convention of Parliamentarians, therefore, resolve to adopt the New Delhi Action Plan for Tibet.


The following ten suggestions for action by Parliamentarians in support of the Tibetan people were placed before the meeting of the World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet in New Delhi, India, 1820 March, 1994. The participants subsequently adopted a programme of Parliamentary action based upon these "Ten Commandments of Delhi" addressed to fellow Parliamentarians as follows:

I Proposed Resolutions to Parliament;

II Exert Pressure on Governments;

III Involve Sub-National & Local Governments;

IV Organise Delegations to China and Tibet;

V Make Representations to the Chinese Embassy;

VI Support Tibetans in Exile and their Supporters;

VII Use Inter-Parliamentary Associations;

VIII Encourage Visits of the Dalai Lama;

IX Target Information Bodies; and

X Encourage Human Rights in China and at Home

I Propose and adopt resolutions in Parliament expressing concern about human rights abuses, population transfer and other problems in Tibet and calling upon the People's Republic of China (PRC) to recognise the rights of the Tibetan people to self-determination and to that end to begin a dialogue with the representatives of the Tibetan people, including the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

Such resolutions have been adopted by a number of legislatures throughout the world, including the Congress of the United States of America and the Federal Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, Germany and the European Parliament.

II Exert pressure upon Governments to interest themselves in the affairs of Tibet and the right of its people.

Governments are sometimes reluctant to take an active role in relations to Tibet because of pressure--political, economic and otherwise--exerted by the PRC. Individual MPs can exert pressure to stimulate action defensive of the rights of Tibet and its people. This can be done by questions in Parliament: by raising Tibetan issues in debates on topics which are relevant (e.g. protection of the environment; dumping of nuclear wastes, ethnic cleansing policies, human rights, self-determination, etc.) It can be done by raising issues relevant to Tibet in Parliamentary Committees--such as those on Foreign Affairs or Constitutional and Human Rights Affairs.

Parliamentary facilities provide many opportunities to express public concern about Tibet and to embarrass recalcitrant Governments and bureaucrats into taking action. Even where suggestions fail (e.g. the action of the United States Congress in relation to Tibet vetoed by President Bush), they stimulate public debate, attract media coverage and sometimes lead, as a result to changed Government policy (as in the case of President Clintion's policy on Most Favored Nation Status for PRC).

III Involve sub-national and local government bodies as well as the National Parliament in concerns about Tibet and its people.

All of the Delegates in New Delhi were members of national legislatures. However, concern about Tibet in the countries represented is often one held by ordinary citizens. It is therefore appropriate that the level of government closed to ordinary citizens should become involved with the cause of Tibetan self-determination. This means in federal States, the sub-national legislatures in the states or provinces. In all states, local government may provide a good venue for meeting Tibetans in exile and seeking to respond to their concerns. Already in some legislatures at sub-national level, resolutions have been passed concerning Tibet.

This was done in the Sates of New South Wales, Australia, for example. In India, it was pointed out that, counting State Assembles, there were more than 5000 legislators. Those in National Parliaments concerned with Tibet should work in close cooperation with those in sub-national, regional, international (the European Parliament) and local government to spread the call for action and promote political and and public debate.

IV Organise Parliamentary delegations to visit China and Tibet to examine human rights, environmental and other situations there.

Such delegations have already taken place. Delegation of Parliamentarian from Austria, Australia, the United Stats and European Parliament and other countries have visited China. They have visited Tibet and reported upon their findings. Such reports gain widespread publicity and reinforce the international pressure upon the PRC to respect the rights of the Tibetan people to self-determination and to stop population transfers, nuclear waste dumping and environmental damaging in Tibet. In 1991 such Parliamentary delegation (from Australia) was permitted to visit Tibet. Perhaps as consequence of the critical content of its report, the Australian human rights delegation in 1992 was denied entry to Tibet.

It was reported to the convention that a delegation from the Swedish Parliament will shortly visit China and Tibet. It is clear that the PRC welcome Parliamentary delegations--at least it is often difficult for the PRC to refuse a request for such delegation to visit China. As in the PRC terminology Tibet is an Autonomous Region of China. It is difficult for the PRC to refuse entry to Tibet.

Parliamentary delegations of this kind can be occasion for dialogue and the expression of popular concern to the PRC.

V Make representations--as a Parliamentary group concerned about Tibet or as an individual Parliamentarian--to the embassy of the People's Republic of China.

In many Parliaments of the world, special groups have been established on a multi-party basis to voice concerns Parliamentarian on behalf of human rights and other abuses in Tibet and denial of the right to self-determination to the Tibetan people. Such groups--although not technically part of the legislature--provide ideal opportunities for concerted multi-partisan action to confront the PRC and its representatives with the unacceptability of the PRC's action with respect to Tibet. Parliamentarians frequently meet representatives of the PRC at official receptions, conferences and other like occasions. Whilst observing diplomatic courtesy and appropriate protocol these occasions should be made an opportunity to voice the concerns of the Parliamentarians and their constituencies about human rights and other abuses in Tibet. The culture of the Chinese people is one which is extremely sensitive to such representations. Members of Parliaments should make sure to request the diplomatic representatives of China to convey the expression of popular concerns to the Government of the PRC in Beijing. Written representations should follow up such oral request in order to ensure that action is taken.

VI Give support to Tibet groups in exile, Tibetan refugees and non-governmental organizations concerned about the Tibetan cause.

Members of Parliament usually enjoy special privileges in relation to the use of the facilities of the parliament buildings. Within those privileges, they should extend invitations to Tibetan refugees, Tibetan support groups and non-governmental organizations concerned with human rights, environmental and nuclear issues--to hold meetings, conference, receptions, etc. at Parliament.

Such meetings will frequently attract media attention--particularly if Tibetan refugees in national dress attend, for they are uniquely photogenic--sending vivid photographs media--particularly international media such as the BBC or CNN--is to be encouraged as this will also reach into China and Tibet sending messages of warning and reason to China and hope to Tibet.

Parliamentarians, who become accustomed to the surrounding of the Parliament House, often underestimate the deep feeling of honour and privilege which an invitation to the People's House will involve--particularly for refugees in exile. The proper use of parliamentary facilities in this way, to encourage the downtrodden exiles and their supporters should be encouraged.

VII Use the international parliamentary unions to promote concern about the plight of Tibet and the Tibetan people.

Virtually all Parliamentarians are ex-officio members of international Parliamentary associations--such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, etc. Such bodies do valuable work and publishes useful journals. However, they often avoid controversial issues.

Parliamentarians concerned about Tibet--and the denial of parliamentary democracy to the Tibetan people--should place resolutions about the situations in Tibet on the agenda of such international bodies. Even if such resolutions do not at first command a majority, the proposal will stimulate a climate of concern and spread the message of Tibet to an important audience.

In addition to the formal resolutions of such bodies, informal consultations and discussions may result in the establishment of new parliamentary support groups on Tibet. These ten commandments and other materials and articles on Tibet should be discussed in such bodies. If possible, they should be published in the journals of inter- parliamentary organizations to disseminate their message.

VIII Promote and encouraged visits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The visits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to so many countries throughout the world has ensured that the issue of Tibet has not disappeared from the international agenda as the Government of the PRC would have hoped. As a great spiritual teacher, but also the recognized leader of the Tibetan people. His Holiness has a rare and unequalled gift of explaining the Tibetan cause to national leaders, parliamentarians and peoples. Such visits are typically opposed most bitterly by the PRC and its global representatives. However, experience teaches that His Holiness draws such large public crowds of supporters and admirers that local political leaders find meeting with him personally irresistible and politically essential. Photographs of the Dalai Lama with national leaders, beamed by way of the media around the world--including by satellite to China--keeps the Tibetan cause before the conscience of the world community. Parliamentarians can play a key role in organizing such tours, arranging appropriate high level official engagements and media coverage. It is especially important to encourage and promote visits of His Holiness to countries in Africa, Asia and the Western Pacific. There, China's pressure to prevent such visits will be the strongest. That is why a network of concerned Parliamentarians is most essential in such countries.

IX Exert influence in such a way as to target the discussions of international bodies studying the human rights situations in China and Tibet.

The recent defeat (March 1994) of the resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, designed to highlight international concerns about China's record of human rights in China and Tibet, came about as a result of a combination of the delegates of democratic and undemocratic countries. A large number of Latin America and African States abstained on the motion. It is in Latin America and Africa that the most immediate efforts must be directly to try to ensure a favourable outcome to future consideration of this issue in the UN Human Rights Commission. It is therefore essential that Parliamentarians concerned about Tibet should seek to make special contact with colleagues and associates in Asia, Latin America and Africa to point to the lessons from their own histories of the struggle for independence and freedom to help establish parliamentary support groups in such countries--to provide literatures and to promote visits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

X Learn from the lessons of Tibet for the situation of human rights, environmental protection, minority rights and the rule of law in China in general and in your own country.

It is essential that the struggle for Tibet should not be or be seen to be anti-Chinese movement, as such. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has insisted upon high respect for China and its peoples. In earlier proposals, he has also raised the possibility in earlier proposals that the exercise of the Tibetan people's right to self-determination could result in an association with China which fall short of complete independence of Tibet. The right to self-determination often manifests itself in complete independence of a distinct people: so that they form their own separate nation state for international law purposes. This is one possible outcome of the genuine and free exercise by the Tibetan people of the right to self-determination which they assert and which international law undoubtedly guarantees to them. But it is not the only possible outcome. The longer the dialogue--as invited by the Dalai Lama--is denied or delayed, the more likely is that the Tibetan people will insist upon complete independence. But that will be a matter for the Tibetan people. Self-determination cannot be denied to the Tibetan people by the Government of the PRC or the Chinese people. In due course, it will be accorded to them. The effort of the Parliamentarians in democratic countries should be directed to that end. But this does not mean that the struggle must be carried on with animosity to the Chinese Government, still less with the Chinese people. On the contrary, the struggle for Tibetan self-determination necessarily involves the self respect of the Chinese people and their relationship with a neighboring people of great dignity and inherent worth. By establishing that relationship upon the basis of international law and universal human rights, the Government of the PRC and the peoples of China will thereby be freed from the burden of being an oppressor and of derogating from the human rights of others. To the extend that one people derogates from the human rights of anothers, it diminishes the right of its own peoples and human rights in the world which is of universal concern. To uphold the derogations of the rights of the Tibetan people, the Government of the PRC is forced to maintain in place the machinery of colonial oppression and autocracy, to lock up dissidents, kill students protestors peacefully expressing their views and maintain labour camps and other paraphernalia of oppression. By upholding the rights of the Tibetan people, parliamentarians are, in a very real sense, working for human rights of the Chinese people and of people everywhere. The universality of human rights must be upheld. There is no "Asian exception" as the representatives of the PRC asserted unsuccessfully to the Second World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in June 1993. One delegate in New Delhi drew a parallel with the autocratic regime which governed his country (Hungary) until very recently. Like that of China, it was derived from the undemocratic and anti-parliamentarian practices of Lenin and Stalin in the Soviet Union. Both in Hungary and in Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union, this kind of polity is now discredited. But it continues to influence the formal public law structures of China. In due course, China will also throw off such autocracy. The support of parliamentarians and others for the rights of the people of Tibet--and their future free relationship with China--should be seen in this wider historical context. Thus, the efforts of freedom in Tibet are efforts founded on respect for the Chinese people--and their basic human rights, not on hatred for the Chinese people. So has His Holiness the Dalai Lama always taught.

The effort to promote the rights of the Tibetan people also necessarily focuses attention on derogations from human rights in every society. By studying the wrongs done to others we can perceive more clearly the wrongs done to people--particularly minorities--in our own societies. To that extend, Tibet is a microcosm of a wider challenge to the human rights and other basic freedom throughout the world which we all share.

March 20, 1994

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