GENEVA FORUM 2020
9-13 NOVEMBER 2020, GENEVA
We, the experts along with the speakers and participants of the third Geneva Forum 2020 on “China’s Policy on Freedom of Religion: Global Impact”,
Express Our Grave Concern for policies implemented by the Government of the People’s Republic of China that represent systemic violations of freedom of religion or belief, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, persecuting Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, as well as other religious groups;
Are Deeply Concerned, in particular, by repressive policies of sinicization pursued by the Chinese authorities against religious groups, which seek to render religious practice subservient to the ideological goals of the Chinese Communist Party and thereby assimilate the core tenets of authentic and autonomous cultural identities of the affected religious groups;
Gravely Note the policies, rules and regulations implemented and passed by the Chinese Communist Party, its rubber stamp legislature as well as the relevant authorities to appoint religious leaders, which violate basic principles of freedom of religion or belief;
Welcome statements by the United Nations independent experts, European Union, Governments such as the United States of America, and distinguished parliamentarians of several countries calling for the protection of freedom of religion or belief of Tibetans, Uyghurs, Turkic people, Mongols, Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, in particular urging the Chinese government to respect the rights of religious groups to choose and determine their own religious leaders, such as the reincarnations of the Dalai Lamas;
Note with Deep Concern the increasing attempts of the Chinese Government to undermine the international human rights system and protection mechanisms provided by international bodies such as the United Nations Human Rights Council which have regressive global ramifications for the protection and promotion of human rights;
And Thereby We,
Call Upon the Government of the People’s Republic of China to:
– STOP WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT the systemic policies of repression and persecution of the people of faith including their imprisonment as well as to end policies of forced sinicization;
– RESPECT AND GUARANTEE all Human Rights, in particular the freedom of religion or belief and the right of the believers to choose and determine their own religious leaders as enshrined and derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
Call Upon Governments to publicly join calls for the protection of freedom of religion or belief for all the religious groups under the rule of the Peoples’ Republic of China, and urge the Chinese Government to refrain from interfering with the rights of the religious groups to choose and determine their own religious leaders, such as the reincarnations of the Dalai Lamas;
Call Upon the international community, institutions, governments along with civil societies to press the People’s Republic of China to respect and guarantee the right to freedom of religion or belief as stipulated in the international as well as domestic laws and release the prisoners of conscience;
Call Upon governments as well as international bodies to appoint special mechanisms to monitor and report on the egregious human rights situation including the violations of freedom of religion or belief under the People’s Republic of China at both national and multilateral levels, as urged by the 50 United Nations independent experts on 26 June 2020.
And hereby so declared.