The 315 participants of the Fifth International Conference of Tibet Support Groups from 56 countries and six continents met in Brussels from 11th to 14th May 2007 to renew their firm commitment to the people of Tibet and their courageous struggle for freedom. They pledge to increase their efforts in support of Tibet and call on the international community, including governments, elected representatives of the people and civil society leaders as well as all freedom loving individuals throughout the world to support His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Conference participants admire the unwavering loyalty of Tibetans in Tibet to the Dalai Lama and their remarkable ability to safeguard their culture and identity. The conference participants will continue their unceasing efforts to achieve a political resolution to the question of Tibet in accordance with the wishes of the Tibetan people to determine their future in freedom.
The growing strength of the Tibet support movement is again demonstrated at this meeting. Its ability to overcome the disappointment of His Holiness? absence from the conference due to Belgian sensitivity to pressure from the government of China demonstrates the long term commitment of the worldwide movement.
The conference is deeply concerned about the PRC?s reluctance to actively pursue earnest negotiations, since no talks have been held between its government and the Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for more than one year. This leads to serious questions about the Chinese government?s sincerity in this regard. Conference participants are equally concerned about the lack of improvement in PRC?s treatment of Tibetans in Tibet, where human rights continue to be violated. Participants urge the international community to persuade the Chinese government to demonstrate its good faith both by actively and constructively pursuing a negotiated resolution for Tibet and by fully respecting international human rights standards throughout Tibet. The Tibet Support Groups will closely monitor the situation and develop appropriate actions as it unfolds.
A wealth of strategies and activities were proposed and discussed by the conference participants to support the Tibetan struggle; the conference agreed to focus the attention of Tibet Support Groups on a number of areas of major importance. An immediate area of focus is the campaigns designed to focus attention on Tibet in relation to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, campaigns in which all Tibet support groups will enthusiastically participate.
Increased efforts will be devoted to strengthen governmental and parliamentary support for the Tibetan cause and the Sino-Tibetan negotiation process. In view of the paramount importance of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people, and recognising the tremendous increase of interest in Tibet and its culture amongst Chinese, the conference decides to intensify its outreach to the Chinese people. The role of opinion-makers in this regard is fully recognised. Respect for human rights, especially freedom of expression, but also religious freedom and the issue of political prisoners including 11th Panchen Lama, will form an important focus of activity, emphasising the PRC?s duty to abide by its obligations under international law. Violations of the rights of Tibetan refugees who flee to Nepal also form an area of serious concern and action.
The current alarming rate of population transfer of Chinese people into Tibet, which has accelerated the socio-economic marginalisation of Tibetans, constitutes an important focus of action. Environmental concerns, especially the threat to the river waters flowing from the Tibetan plateau and also the reckless exploitation of natural resources are recognised to be of critical importance to the region and the world.
The conference expresses its admiration for the successful efforts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people for establishing a genuine democratic system of governance in exile. At the start of this conference, His Holiness sent a written message requesting frank and open discussions and constructive suggestions. The conference met at a critical and important time for the Tibet movement, with the approaching Olympic Games in Beijing and the increase in pressure by the government of China on governments worldwide, starkly highlighted by His Holiness absence from Brussels. Tibet Support Groups emerged from the conference more focussed and determined in their efforts and with a clear strategy for the next three years.