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.

                          ____________________