August 20, 2019
Published By Tenzin Saldon
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Chair of Bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Dr Tenzin Dorjee, addressing the officials of Central Tibetan Administration at a special talk on International Religious Freedom and Communication. Photo/Tenzin Jigme/CTA

Dharamshala: The first Tibetan Buddhist elected Chair of the Bipartisan United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Dr Tenzin Dorjee on Monday greeted the staff of Central Tibetan Administration at a special talk on International Religious Freedom and Communication.

Organized by the Tibet Policy Institute, the expert talk was held at the T-building of Central Tibetan Secretariat.

In the 40-minute talk, the USCIRF Chair Dr Tenzin Dorjee reflected upon the United State’s unwavering commitment to protecting freedom of religion and, especially under President Trump’s administration, the prioritization of the protection of unalienable rights like religious freedom in the US foreign policy.

Dr. Tenzin Dorjee who was appointed to the Commission on December 8, 2016, by US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and reappointed to the Commission by Leader Pelosi on May 10, 2018, said Religious freedom is an undeniable universal human right and is the key to defending all the other freedoms and rights.

However, he lamented the increasing salience of religious tensions and the worldwide exercise of religious freedom brazenly suppressed at the state levels.

The ongoing human rights situations in Tibet, particularly the lack of right to freedom of conscience, is a serious concern at the USCIRF, he noted.

Under his chairmanship, the USCIRF has repeatedly recommended the State Department to re-designate China a “country of particular concern” (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act for systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, including against the Tibetan Buddhists.

In November 2018, the US State Department re-designated China as a CPC, including 9 others. China has been designated as a “country of particular concern” since 1999.

In addition, Dr Dorjee said he has been closely monitoring the case of the enforced disappearance of Tibet’s second-highest spiritual leader, Panchen Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. He has consistently urged US President and secretary of state to impose sanctions on Chinese officials and agencies under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act for perpetrating religious freedom violations and to continue to implement the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018 to seek access to Panchen Lama and press for his immediate and unconditional release.

Dr Dorjee offered expert insights into the best practices in Religious Freedom Advocacy. He said determined, collaborative efforts can take us forward in our advocacy and in championing the voices of Tibetan brethren in Tibet.

An expert in intercultural communication, Dr Dorjee recommended the best practices in communication and cross-cultural communication. He noted that a balance of instrumental goal-oriented communication and relational communication can bring dynamic results in communication pursuits.

He also recounted his experiences during his first tenure as a Commissioner when he travelled to Burma and Iraq to monitor religious freedom conditions.

Created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA), the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan U.S. government advisory body, independent from the U.S. Department of State, that monitors religious freedom abroad and makes policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state, and Congress. The President and leadership of both political parties in the Senate and House of Representatives appoint USCIRF Commissioners.

Secretaries and staff of Central Tibetan Administration at the expert talk by Dr Tenzin Dorjee, Chair of U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Photo/Tenzin Jigme/CTA

Secretary Tsewang Dolma, Director of the Tibet Policy Institute delivers the welcome remarks at the special talk by Dr Tenzin Dorjee. Photo/Tenzin Jigme/CTA

Deputy Director Tenzin Lekshay, Tibet Policy Institute speaking at the introductory session. Photo/Tenzin Jigme/CTA


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