Washington DC: Washington, DC: The 8th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet organized by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile concluded on 23rd June 2022 with the successful revival of the International Network of Parliamentarians for Tibet (INPaT) and adoption of the Washington Declaration and Washington Action Plan.
On the second day of the two-day legislators’ conference on Tibet, Taiwanese Legislator Hung Sun-Han, Member of the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, and Research Fellow Dechen Palmo, Environment & Development Desk of Tibet Policy Institute, Central Tibetan Administration spoke on ‘Significance of Asia & Tibet in Global Warming and Climate Change’. While Tibetan MP Tenzing Jigme chaired the session.
Indian MP Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Lok Sabha and Former Indian Minister of State for External Affairs; Canadian MP Arif Virani, Chair of Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (PFT); Prof. Michael Van Walt Praag, Professor of International Law and Executive President of Kreddha; and Prof. Hon-Shiang Lau, Retired Chair Professor, City University of Hong Kong spoke on ‘Narratives on Tibet: The Need for Change’ in a panel discussion chaired by Kalon Norzin Dolma of the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR), CTA.
Chaired by Member of Parliament John Tennant Wright Sol, El Salvador, many lawmakers from numerous countries shared their views during the panel discussion on ‘Sharing Experiences, Collaborations, Networking & Action Plans amongst like-minded countries’. Member of Parliament Nicolas Walder from Switzerland, Co-President of Switzerland Parliamentary Group of Tibet; Member of Parliament Balthasar Glättli from Switzerland, Member of Swiss Parliamentary Group for Tibet; Member of Parliament Collette Stevenson from Scotland, Member of Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group for Tibet; Member of Parliament Laima Liucija Andrikienė from Lithuania; Members of Parliament Tim Loughton & Chris Law from the UK, Co-Chairs of All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet; Member of Parliament Sir Iain Duncan Smith from the UK, Co-Founder of IPAC; Member of Parliament Uffe Elbæk from Denmark; Indian MP Sujeet Kumar, Convener of All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet; and German MP Michael Brand, Chair of the German Parliamentary Friends of Tibet gave their remarks virtually.
While, Member of Parliament James Maloney from Canada, Vice-Chair of Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet; Member of Parliament Gloria Navas Montero from Costa Rica; Member of Parliament Salvador Caro Cabrera from Mexico; Member of Parliament Robert Masih Nahar from Spain; and Member of Parliament Marek Hilser from the Czech Republic spoke on ‘Sharing Experiences, Collaborations, Networking & Action Plans amongst like-minded countries’ which was followed by discussion among the parliamentarians.
During the panel discussion on ‘Common Ground to Face Common Challenges’, Taiwanese Legislator Tshiong-tso Lim; Mr. Dolkun Isa, president of World Uyghur Congress; Mr. Jeffery Ngo, Hong Kong Democracy Council; and Mr. Wang Dan, President of China Dialogue spoke on the topic. The session was chaired by Tibetan parliamentarian Tenzin Jigdal.
By the end of the conference, Deputy Speaker Dolma Tsering Teykahng formally announced the revival of the International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT) and launched its official website (www.inpat.org) in presence of the participating parliamentarians.
Thereafter, Prof. Michael Van Walt Praag, executive president of Kreddha and Senior Fellow at the Sompong Sucharitkul Center for Advanced International Legal Studies of Golden Gate University Law School in San Francisco with the other members of the drafting committee, presented the Washington DC Declaration and Washington Action Plan which were subsequently adopted after due deliberation. A joint declaration of Latin American Parliamentarians of El Salvador, Chile, and and Mexico was also read by El Salvador Member of Parliament John Tennant Wright Sol.
Finally, Deputy Speaker Dolma Tsering Teykhang of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile gave the vote of thanks speech wherein she extended her gratitude to the parliamentarians for their participation in the 8th World Parliamentarians’ Convention of Tibet whose presence at the conference has sent a strong message to Beijing. At the same time, it will boost the morale of Tibetans inside Tibet.
Alerting of Chinese communist government’s deceitfulness which has now become evident with the advent of Covid-19 that originated in China, she stressed that the freedom, liberty, and human rights enjoyed by the people living in a free world cannot be taken for granted with leaders having expansionist mentality like Xi Jinping holding the power.
Expressing solidarity with the Chinese citizen under communist rule, she said that the common people of China are equally victimized as Tibetans by the iron-fisted Chinese leadership. The Deputy Speaker called for the collective effort of the Uyghurs, Hongkongers, Taiwanese, inner Mongolians, and other like-minded people by staying connected to navigate the common suffering in the international arena.
She concluded by thanking participating parliamentarians, organizing committee, ICT, Sikyong-led Kashag, DIIR Kalon, offices of Tibet, NED, NDI, drafting committee, and others for their valuable contribution to organizing the conference.
Earlier on the same day, a delegation of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile consisting of Deputy Speaker Dolma Tsering Teykhang, Parliamentarian Kunga Sotop, Parliamentarian Khenpo Kada Ngedup Sonam, Parliamentarian Geshe Lharampa Gowo Lobsang Phende, Parliamentarian Migyur Dorjee, Parliamentarian Geshe Atong Rinchen Gyaltsen, Parliamentarian Tsering Dolma, and Parliamentarian Choedak Gyatso along with some other participants of the 8th WPCT attended the congressional hearing on Tibet in the U.S Capitol by Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) on ‘Tibet: Barriers to Settling an Unresolved Conflict’.
This convention, organized by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, is in continuation of the previous seven sessions of WPCT aimed to strengthen and coordinate support by parliamentarians from different countries to resolve the Tibet issue. The first WPCT was held in New Delhi (1994) honoring the foundational role India has played in the survival of the Tibetan identity after the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet. Subsequent conventions have been held in Vilnius, Lithuania (1995); Washington D.C.USA (1997); Edinburgh, Scotland (U.K.) (2005); Rome, Italy (2009); Ottawa, Canada (2012); and Riga, Latvia (2019).
The main objectives of holding the World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet are for parliamentarians to take a leading role in the international area on the question of survival of the Tibetan identity and its rich cultural heritage which has the potential to contribute to a more peaceful world. Likewise, parliamentarians to join the world leaders in expressing concern over human rights violations and religious repression in Tibet and consider initiatives in their respective countries to support an early resumption of dialogue between the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the People’s Republic of China, for a negotiated solution on Tibet.