Canada’s Human Rights Strategy With China Is Not Working


Canada should evaluate its “bilateral human rights dialogue” strategy with China says a new report released today by Rights & Democracy.

Ottawa, March 14, 2001 – Canada should evaluate its “bilateral human rights dialogue” strategy with China says a new report released today by Rights & Democracy. The report, entitled: The Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue with China: Undermining the International Human Rights Regime, calls upon the Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade to convene hearings specifically for this purpose.

“The bilateral human rights dialogue has not achieved its objectives and the UN human rights system has been weakened by manipulation and application of a double standard,” concludes the report, which underlines the deteriorating human rights situation in China today.

The report recommends that to be effective, the bilateral human rights dialogue with China must go hand-in-hand with strong action at the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The UNCHR is scheduled to begin its annual session in Geneva on March 19, 2001. A resolution on the situation in China will be tabled by the United States, but it is not likely to succeed unless other nations co-sponsor it.

“The Government of Canada should take a principled decision on this matter and step forward to co-sponsor the resolution on China,” today said Warren Allmand, Rights & Democracy’s President at a news conference in Ottawa.

Until 1997, Canada co-sponsored UNCHR resolutions on the situation in China. In April 1997, Canada withdrew its traditional support for the resolution and announced the “bilateral human rights dialogue”. Today’s new report, which was sent to members of the Standing Committee, chronicles development of the dialogue process and reviews similar initiatives in other Western countries.

The Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue with China: Undermining the International Human Rights Regime: Full text of the Report.