“For the purposes of the present Declaration, the expression ‘intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief’ means any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on religion or belief and having as its purpose or as its effect nullification or impairment of the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis.”
- Article 2.2, Elimination Of All Forms Of Religious Intolerance, United Nations Resolution 48/128 (1993)
There have been numerous Tibetan exile government statements and resolutions vilifying Shugden practitioners with the aim of completely removing Shugden practitioners from the Tibetan Exile Community.
In an attempt to deflect attention from their clear abuses of human rights, these statements often include a sentence or paragraph denying that they are restricting religious freedom. For example, point 3 of the 17 March 2014 resolution of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies says:
(3) Recognises clearly the actions of Dolgyal followers as a political tool to create discord within the Tibetan community under the influence and deception of monetary gains, and to denigrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama with baseless allegations. The Parliament would like to make it clear that the issue has nothing to do with religious freedom.
Further recognises also the Dolgyal followers and others – whose have caused grave harm to the faith and polity of Tibet under the Chinese government’s ploy and in violation of the law of Karma – as criminals in history.20
In the very same point they criminalise anyone who worships Shugden simply for the ‘crime’ of their faith, and claim that this has ‘nothing to do with religious freedom’. They are saying peope can continue to worship Shugden but if they do they will be viewed and treated as criminals - this is a clear abuse of their basic human rights.
As Dr Martin Mills remarks, the claims that Shugden practitioners’ freedom to practice their faith is not being restricted are ‘simply disingenuous’.21
Detailing the accusations against the Tibetan Exile Government, he says: ‘Shugden worshippers were being forcibly purged from the ranks of the Tibetan exiled polity (an expulsion which, given the legal statelessness of Tibetan refugees within the Indian polity, and the importance of mutual support networks within the exiled community, would be individually devastating).’22