International Campaign for Tibet to Receive 2001 International Religious Freedom Award. Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom has announced that it will award its 2001 International Religious Freedom Award to the International Campaign for Tibet in recognition of ICT’s “tireless commitment in advancing religious freedom for the Tibetan Buddhist people.” The award will be presented to ICT on March 14th at a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

Citing a marked deterioration of religious freedom in Tibet that has been noted by both the State Department and the U.S. Commission on International Freedom, the Center for Religious Freedom has decided this year to honor “defenders of religious rights for China’s main religious belief communities.”

The award will also be presented to representatives of other religious communities that have faced oppression in China. The Center for Religious Freedom intends the event to “draw attention to the severe persecution Chinese and Tibetan people are forced to endure to follow their conscience under China’s regime.”

“We are honored to receive this award,” said John Ackerly, President of ICT, “not only as recognition for our efforts on behalf of the Tibetan people but also for the attention that it will draw to the plight of Tibetans facing unthinkable hardships within their homeland.

“Like the Taliban’s recent campaign of destruction aimed at Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, the occupying Chinese military force in Tibet has carried out the systematic destruction of thousands of Buddhist statues since occupying Tibet more than 40 years ago and continues to enforce the brutal repression of religious and other freedoms in Tibet today.”

In addition to presenting religious representatives in a united front against persecution by the Chinese government, the award ceremony will also provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to speak out on behalf of religious freedom in China.