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Trade talks with China must include assessment of human rights impact in Tibet

September 23, 2016

Montreal, September 23, 2016 - The Canada Tibet Committee today called for a full and immediate assessment of the potential impact a Canada-China Free Trade Agreement could have on human rights in Tibet. [1]

The call comes as Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, meeting in Ottawa this week, announced exploratory talks towards a free trade agreement. [2] The Chinese Premier is in Montreal today.

“Canada has assumed international treaty obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights” said Carole Samdup, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee”.  Given the systemic nature of human rights violations in Tibet today, Canada has a moral responsibility to ensure that new trade rules will not entrench existing human rights violations or derail efforts to resolve them in the future.”

Tibetans face numerous challenges when attempting to access economic opportunities in Tibet.  These include social and political exclusion, denial of travel documents [3], discriminatory hiring practices, dominance of Chinese language in business, government control of the Internet, lack of an independent judiciary, and the prohibition of free trade unions.  

The Central Tibetan Administration has put forward a proposal for genuine autonomy as a solution to the ongoing conflict in Tibet [4]. The proposal welcomes international trade but calls for greater Tibetan participation in economic decision making and self-management of natural resources including access to land and regulation of the in-migration of Chinese migrant workers to Tibet.

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[1] The UN has adopted guiding principles on human rights impact assessments for trade agreements:



[3] Denial of passports to Tibetans and Canada’s new visa policy

[4] Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People,

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