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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

CTC welcomes government decision to create human rights watchdog for Canadian businesses operating overseas

January 17, 2018

Ottawa, January 17, 2018 – The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) today welcomed the announcement by Minister of International Trade, Hon. François-Philippe Champagne that the Government of Canada will create a new office to investigate human rights abuse caused by Canadian businesses operating overseas.  The office will be named The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Business Enterprise. [1] 

As a member of the Canadian Coalition for Corporate Accountability [2], the CTC has consistently campaigned for more government attention to the human rights impact of corporate activity overseas including in Tibet. [3]

"Individuals and communities impacted by Canadian mining operations around the world are counting on this office to prevent and redress human rights abuse by Canadian companies," said Sherap Therchin, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee. “But there must be assurances that political pressure from host governments will not limit the office’s effectiveness in challenging places like Tibet”.

Canada’s new human rights ombudsperson will have powers to independently investigate complaints concerning the overseas operations of Canadian companies, and will issue public findings regarding allegations of harm. The office will make recommendations for policy and law reform as well as for redress including corporate eligibility for government services.

“China limits diplomatic access to Tibet [4] and Tibetans are unable to travel abroad to provide the required witness statements [5], said Carole Samdup, Coordinator of the CTC’s economic rights campaign. “Therefore, it remains to be seen whether or not the Ombudsman will be able to carry out its mandate in Tibet-based examples.” 

The CTC will continue to work with the Government of Canada and in partnership with the CNCA to ensure that Canada’s new human rights ombudsman has the powers and independence necessary to fully implement its mandate anywhere where Canadian businesses are present.

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[1] See the announcement at https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2018/01/the_government_ofcanadabringsleadershiptoresponsiblebusinesscond.html   
[2] The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) works to ensure that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies respect human rights and the environment overseas. Formed in 2005, the CNCA brings together 34 Canadian environmental, human rights, faith-based, labor and solidarity groups.  http://cnca-rcrce.ca/   
[3] For example, see “CTC joins national campaign for human rights ombudsperson for Canada’s extractive sector”, http://tibet.ca/en/library/media_releases/403   
[4] “China tries to block visits by Canadian diplomats to Tibet: Dion”, Globe and Mail, October 5, 2016: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/china-tries-to-block-visits-by-canadian-diplomats-to-tibet-dion/article32264098/   
[5] See “One Passport, Two Systems”, Human Rights Watch, June 2015: 
https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/supporting_resources/tibet0715_0.pdf 

Contacts 
Carole Samdup, Canada Tibet Committee
Cell: (514) 512-4665
carole@tibet.ca 

Emily Dwyer, Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability
Cell: (819) 592-6657
coordinator@cnca-rcrce.ca

Stéphanie Gervais, Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability
Tel: (613) 731-6315, ext 25
communications@cnca-rcrce.ca

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CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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