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Task Force Urges Business-Human Rights-Policy Linkage in Canada’s Asia Strategy

September 25, 2013

“The Government of Canada should exercise high-level political leadership and consistent engagement with its counterparts in Asia on human rights,” says a report published today by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada), a policy think tank. The report, “Advancing Canada’s Engagement with Asia on Human Rights: Integrating Business and Human Rights,” was produced by a task force on which Sharon Hom, HRIC Executive Director, serves as a member.

The report focuses on Canada’s overall policy and business interests in Asia in the context of the region’s human rights issues, and lays out a framework for engagement that will “allow for a more consistent and constructive approach to human rights challenges in the Canada-Asia relationship,” writes Yuen Pau Woo, APF Canada’s President and CEO in the Foreword.

The report also provides concrete recommendations for the government, business sector, and civil society organizations that support human rights protection in the region. Among the recommendations for the Canadian government is that it “include the further development of human rights as a strategic objective in its Asia strategy.” Other recommendations include:

  • Canadian business actors should ensure that their relationships and activities in Asia are sensitive to local human rights issues and do not undermine the recognition and protection of internationally recognized human rights;
  • Canadian NGOs should support law reform efforts as well as the training of judges and lawyers to strengthen local capacity for recognizing and protecting internationally recognized human rights in Asia.

The task force is chaired by Pitman Potter, Professor of Law and HSBC Chair in Asian Research at the University of British Columbia, and comprises the following members in addition to Sharon Hom: Joseph K. Ingram, former President and CEO of The North-South Institute; Robert G. Wright, former Canadian Ambassador to China (2005-2009) and to Japan (2001-2005); and Douglas Horswill, Senior Vice President, Teck Resources Limited.

Click to read “Advancing Canada’s Engagement with Asia on Human Rights: Integrating Business and Human Rights.”