Vancouver, B.C. – December 9, 2011 – On the occasion of the international Human Rights Day on December 10, the National Conversation on Asia (NCA), an initiative of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, today launched its latest online conversation on Canada’s human rights promotion in Asia, and unveiled a new interactive map feature called ‘Mapping Canadian Views on Asia.’
This latest interactive map is one of among several new features on the National Conversation on Asia website aimed to get Canadians thinking, talking and acting to respond to Asia’s rise. The maps provide a visual and participatory way for users to engage with issues relevant to the growing and changing Canada-Asia relationship. The maps will visibly change over time as more people add their voice to the conversation.
The first map coincides with the conversation on human rights which asks Canadians, ‘Is there a best way for Canada to promote human rights in Asia?’ This hot-button topic is a high priority concern as 66% of Canadians agreed that promoting human rights in Asia should be a priority in Canada’s foreign policy, according to APF Canada’s 2011 National Opinion Poll of Canadian Views on Asia.
In 2007, Canada introduced the “toughest sanctions in the world” against Burma to protest the military government’s human rights abuses. More recently, Canada threatened to boycott the 2013 Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka unless the government cooperates with international bodies to investigate allegations of human rights abuse and war crimes.
However, this has proven to be a thorny and complicated task for Canada. While some countries recognize and have committed to internationally accepted norms, the enforcement of basic human rights can be undermined by corruption, a lack of political will and weak legal institutions. Given these complexities, the latest conversation asks whether Canada should promote human rights in Asia and what is the best way to do so.
This online conversation is the fourth in a series of NCA conversations that examine current and controversial topics in the Canada-Asia relationship including Canadian exports of oil & gas to Asia, Canadian asbestos exports to Asia, and whether trade agreements are in Canada’s interest.
About APF Canada
The Asia Pacific Foundation is an independent resource for Canadians on contemporary Asia and Canada-Asia relations. As a national not-for-profit organization established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1984, the Foundation brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Asia and on Canada's transpacific relations.
About the National Conversation on Asia
The National Conversation on Asia is a Canada-wide initiative to get Canadians thinking, talking and acting on Canada-Asia issues. It includes a public education and policy development focus. This initiative is generously supported in part by our Founding Partners: Teck, Bombardier, Shell Canada, Manulife Financial and BMO Financial Group; Founding Sponsors: HSBC Bank Canada and Port Metro Vancouver; and Founding Supporters: Port of Halifax, Fiera Sceptre, Deloitte, Vancouver Airport Authority, Husky Energy, Canadian Pacific, TELUS and Blakes.