Canada Tibet Committee, April 7, 2017 – Attracting new supporters to the Tibetan cause was the goal of “Tibet Outreach Week” in Canada held from April 3-7, 2017. The concept behind the outreach project is that in order to maintain interest in Tibet, efforts must be made to engage stakeholders who represent issues of relevance in the Canadian political discourse.
The week began in Ottawa, where CTC director Carole Samdup addressed the 6th Annual Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom. The well-attended event was hosted by Members of Parliament David Anderson and Garnett Genuis, and featured keynote addresses from Mr. David Mulroney (Canada’s former Ambassador to China) and Dr. Andrew Bennett (former Canadian Ambassador of Religious Freedom). In her remarks, Samdup highlighted the evictions and demolitions at Larung Gar.
Also in Ottawa, CTC members participated in a dialogue hosted by the Government of Canada with 4 UN Special Rapporteurs: the newly-appointed Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed; the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Mr. François Crépeau; the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Ms. Rita Izsák-Ndiaye; and the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Dr. Agnes Callamard. The CTC focused attention on the UN’s Universal Periodic Review and China’s failure to comply with its commitments made following reviews in 2008 and 2013.
Other outreach activities in Ottawa included meetings with non-governmental groups working on human rights compliance measures for Canadian companies in Tibet. The CTC’s economic rights team shared insights from its efforts to engage a Canadian mining company operating in Tibet.
In Montreal, CTC members met with delegates attending the International Association of Impact Assessment’s 2017 conference to discuss the integration of human rights into impact assessments of trade agreements, and more specifically the Canada-China Free Trade Agreement which is currently in a public consultation process.
Later in the week, CTC members met with Concordia University stakeholders to brainstorm about a potential new project celebrating the almost 50 years of Tibetan experience in Canada. Members also attended an event organized by McGill University’s initiative on social entrepreneurship and offered examples of Tibetan initiatives in this area. Finally, in Montreal plans were launched to build networks with indigenous communities in Quebec by joining a knowledge sharing project.
Tibet Outreach Week opened many doors welcoming potential new supporters of the Tibetan cause in Canada. Now, CTC members look forward to building those relationships and consolidating the new friendships made.
Read the CTC director’s remarks to the 6th Parliamentary Forum on Tibet: http://tibet.ca/_media/PDF/CTC-handout-religious-%20freedom2017.pdf