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431-00232 (Foreign affairs)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

WHEREAS:

  1. Every person is entitled to the peaceful practice of his or her religion without fear of persecution;
  2. Falun Dafa (or Falun Gong) is a peaceful spiritual discipline based on truth, compassion and tolerance;
  3. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banned the practice of Falun Dafa in 1999, beginning a widespread campaign of elimination; and
  4. Tactics employed against peaceful Falun practitioners include imprisonment, forced labour, torture, murder, Orwellian indoctrination and even allegations of live organ extraction have been reported.

We, the undersigned citizens of Canada, call upon the Minister of the Crown for Foreign Affairs to impress the importance of universal human rights declarations as an international norm upon the People's Republic of China's (PRC). persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners, and we request that the Minister of the Crown for Citizenship and Immigration list the PRC as a refugee Source Country, thereby allowing swifter accommodation for those fleeing its persecution.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable François Philippe Champagne

The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canadian foreign policy and a priority in our government’s engagement with China. Canada has consistently called on China to respect, protect and promote freedom of expression, assembly and association, and religion or belief for all Chinese citizens.

Canada has publicly voiced concerns about the intimidation and repression of ethnic minority and religious groups, as well as Falun Gong practitioners, and will continue to do so at every appropriate opportunity.

Canadian engagement on human rights encompasses high level visits; public statements; representations on specific issues and cases of concern bilaterally as well as in multilateral forums; interventions and advocacy by the Embassy of Canada; as well as outreach to civil society.

To ensure the protection of all human rights, including freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), Canada addresses rights comprehensively through the Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion (OHRFI), encouraging a climate of inclusion and respect for diversity to advance the rights of those too often marginalized in society. To this end, the OHRFI regularly engages with a diverse range of diaspora and faith and belief communities, and the broader international community to inform its approach in advocating for human rights, including freedom of religion or belief.

The Government of Canada has presented concerns regarding human rights practices directly to Chinese authorities on numerous occasions. These concerns are raised with the Government of China at the highest levels, including during the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Canada in September 2016, the Prime Minister’s visits to China in August 2016 and in December 2017, the Governor General’s visit to China in July 2017, and during a visit of Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister to China in August 2017. The Prime Minister and Premier Li also had a frank and open discussion on human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of religion as part of the third Canada-China Annual Leaders’ Dialogue in November 2018. At the G20 Foreign Minister’s meeting in Japan in November 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada raised the human rights situation in China directly with his Chinese counterpart during a bilateral meeting.

On November 6, 2018, Canada made public recommendations to China on human rights as part of its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. At that time, Canada called on China to end the prosecution and persecution on the basis of religion or belief, including for Falun Gong practitioners.

In July 2019, Canada signed a joint statement, at the U.S. Ministerial Meeting to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington. This meeting is U.S.-led initiative where issues of religious freedom violations worldwide are addressed and that brings together foreign ministers and government representatives, civil society, as well as victims of religious persecution and discrimination. The joint statement emphasized concern about the significant restrictions on religious freedom in China and called on the Chinese government to respect the human rights of all individuals. The text stated that many members of religious minority groups in China face severe repression and discrimination because of their beliefs, including Falun Gong practitioners.

The Government of Canada is actively engaged with other states, including China, to advocate the implementation of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, including for the purposes of organ removal. Canada actively participated in the development of the revised World Health Organization’s Guiding Principles on Human Organ and Tissue Transplantation, which Member States, including China, adopted in 2010. The Government of Canada also recognized the need to enhance the safety of transplantation procedures in Canada and has implemented a regulatory framework that maximizes the safety of cells, tissues and organs intended for transplantation (2007-2008).

The promotion, protection and respect of human rights are core priorities in our foreign policy. Canada will continue to raise its concerns about the human rights situation in China and we will continue to call on China to live up to its international obligations.

Response by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Marco Mendicino

Canada has a long history of providing protection to people fleeing persecution in their homeland or displaced by conflicts. The objectives of Canada’s refugee program are to save lives, offer protection to the displaced and persecuted, meet Canada’s international legal obligations with respect to refugees, and respond to international crises by providing assistance to those in need of resettlement.

The People's Republic of China cannot be designated as a Source Country, as the regulatory provision for designating source countries was repealed on October 26th, 2011.

Persons who are outside their country of origin and have a well-founded fear of persecution based on their religion may be eligible for resettlement to Canada as refugees if they meet the requirements established in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. Each application for resettlement is evaluated on its own merits. Refugee protection is also available for persons in Canada who are recognized as refugees by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
June 4, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00232)
Government response tabled
July 20, 2020
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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