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His Holiness the Dalai Lama Congratulates Winners of This Year’s Nobel Peace Prize

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Following yesterday’s announcement of the winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has released a message expressing his sincere congratulations to Mr. Ales Bialiatski from Belarus; Memorial, a human rights advocacy group in Russia; and the Center for Civil Liberties, also a human rights advocacy group in Ukraine.

“Each of them,” he wrote, “recognises that all human beings have a right to freedom from want and freedom from fear and that human rights are inclusive, interdependent and universal.

“By recognizing their contribution, the Nobel Committee has shone a clear light on the importance of civil society in promoting fundamental human values of peace, freedom and democracy.

“Of the many problems we face today,” His Holiness continued, “some are natural calamities and must be accepted and faced with equanimity. Others are of our own making, created by misunderstanding and can be corrected. Among these problems are those that arise from a conflict of ideology, political or religious, when people fight each other for petty ends, losing sight of the basic humanity that binds us all together as a single human family.

“Today, the values of democracy, open society, respect for human rights, and equality are becoming recognized as universal values. There is an intimate connection between democratic values and the fundamental values of human goodness. Where there is democracy there is a greater possibility for citizens to express their basic human qualities. Where these basic human qualities prevail, there is also a greater scope for strengthening democracy. Most important of all, democracy is also the most effective basis for ensuring world peace.

“Across the world, our rich diversity of cultures and religions should help to strengthen fundamental human rights in all communities. Underlying this diversity are basic human principles that bind us all together in the oneness of humanity. The question of human rights is so fundamentally important that there should be no difference of views about it. We all have common human needs and concerns. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering regardless of our race, religion, gender or social status.

His Holiness’s message concluded:

“I welcome the three recipients of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the fellowship of Nobel Peace Laureates. It is my hope that this award will serve as an inspiration for all, reminding us that addressing problems through dialogue and with humanity will bring all parties to a happy and mutually beneficial solution.”