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USCIRF Chair Dr Tenzin Dorjee on Religious Freedom and Inter-Cultural Communication

USCIRF Chair Dr Tenzin Dorjee on Religious Freedom and Inter-Cultural Communication

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McLeod Ganj : The first Tibetan Buddhist elected Chair of the Bipartisan United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Dr Tenzin Dorjee 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 US 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 to the USCIRF, he noted.

Under his chairmanship, the USCIRF 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 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.

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