December 9, 2003 - Issue: Vol. 149, No. 176 — Daily Edition108th Congress (2003 - 2004) - 1st Session
DECLARATION OF PARTICIPANTS OF FIRST CONGRESS OF WORLD AND TRADITIONAL RELIGIONS
(Extensions of Remarks - December 09, 2003)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E2529-E2530] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] DECLARATION OF PARTICIPANTS OF FIRST CONGRESS OF WORLD AND TRADITIONAL RELIGIONS ______ HON. JOSEPH R. PITTS of pennsylvania in the house of representatives Monday, December 8, 2003 Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I would like to submit for the Congressional Record the following Declaration of the Participants of the First Congress of World and Traditional Religions hosted in Kazakhstan earlier this fall. One of the most important aspects of this gathering was the emphasis on reconciliation and the final declaration recognizing the right of each individual to ``freely be convinced of, choose, express and practice his/her religion.'' Much of the tension in the world today is over the refusal of one group to allow another group or individual to peacefully practice his or her religious beliefs. I would like to commend President Nazarbayev for convening this important conference and I would like to commend all participants in the conference. Declaration of the Participants of the First Congress of World and Traditional Religions We, the participants of the First Congress of World and Traditional Religions, held from 23 to 24 September 2003 in Astana, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Recognizing the right of each human person to freely be convinced, choose, express, and practice his/her religion. Considering inter-religious dialogue as one of the most important instruments for ensuring peace and harmony among peoples and nations. Supporting the efforts of the United Nations, other relevant international and regional organizations, as well as Governments, civil societies and non-governmental organizations in the promotion of dialogue among civilizations. Confirming the importance of religion for the well being of all mankind. Condemning the misuse and misrepresentations of religions and the incorrect use of differences among religions as a means for achieving selfish, disruptive and violent goals. Conscious of: The declining sense of respect for the sanctity of human life and the dignity of every human person. [[Page E2530]] The serious challenges posed to global stability by poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease, immorality and lack of access to clean water and health care. The recourse to oppression, cruelty and violence as the principle instruments for resolving disputes. The ecological crisis in which the world finds itself, with grave consequences for present and future generations. Declare: That the promotion of the values of Tolerance, Truth, Justice and Love must be the aim of any religious teaching. That extremism, terrorism and other forms of violence in the name of religion have nothing to do with genuine understanding of religion, but are a threat to human life and hence should be rejected. That the diversity of religious beliefs and practices should not lead to mutual suspicion, discrimination and humiliation but to a mutual acceptance and harmony demonstrating distinctive characteristics of each religion and culture That religions must aspire towards greater co-operation, recognizing tolerance and mutual acceptance as essential instruments in the peaceful co-existence of all peoples. That educational programs and the means of social communication should be essential instruments for promotion of positive attitudes towards religions and cultures. That inter-religious dialogue is one of the key means for social development and the promotion of the well-being of all peoples, fostering tolerance, mutual understanding and harmony among different cultures and religions, and operating to bring an end to conflicts and violence. That the entire human family must be encouraged to overcome hatred, enmity, intolerance and xenophobia. We shall strengthen co-operation in promoting spiritual values and the culture of dialogue with the aim of ensuring peace in the new millennium. We are ready to strain every effort not to allow the use of religious differences as an instrument of hatred and discord, in order to save mankind from a global conflict of religions and cultures. We look forward to joint actions to ensure peace and progress for humanity and to foster the stability of societies as the basis for a harmonious world for the future. We thank the Republic of Kazakhstan and his Excellency President Nursultan Nazarbayev for initiating and hosting this Congress. May our commitments be blessed and all the peoples of the world be granted justice, peace and prosperity. Resolutions of the First Congress of World and Traditional Religions The participants of the First Congress of World and National Religions, held from 23 to 24 September 2003 in Astana, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Taking into consideration the fruitful exchange of views on the role of religions in promoting peace and harmony in the world. Expressing common understanding on the need to continue constructive dialogue among representatives of the world's religions. HAVE RESOLVED: To convene the Congress at least once every three years; To approve the following title of the Congress-- ``the Congress of World and Traditional Religions''; To request the Republic of Kazakhstan, as the initiator of the Congress, to elaborate all aspects related to the establishment of the Secretariat; To convene the Second Congress in Astana, the Republic of Kazakhstan. ____________________