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432-00822 (Foreign affairs)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: Bilingual

PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED

We, the undersigned residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons to the following:

Whereas, it has been 17 years since the Chinese communist regime launched a persecution to "eradicate" Falun Gong—a spiritual practice centred on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance;

Whereas, millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been arbitrarily detained, including family members of Canadians. The mass extrajudicial imprisonment, forced labour, torture, rape, and killing along with hate propaganda have been reported by major human rights organizations;

Whereas, an update report released in June 2016 by three reputable investigators David Kilgour, David Matas and Ethan Gutmann indicates that prisoners of conscience, primarily Falun Gong practitioners, have been killed on demand to fuel a massive state-run transplant industry, supplying most of the organs for an estimated tens of thousands transplants a year in Chinese hospitals since 2000.

Whereas, the U.S. House of Representatives and European Parliament passed resolutions in June 2016 and December 2013 respectively condemning and calling for an immediate end to China's systematic and statesanctioned organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong. In February 2015, Canada's Parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights unanimously passed a similar motion; and

Whereas, since May 2015, over 200,000 Chinese citizens have filed criminal complaints against former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin who orchestrated the persecution of Falun Gong;

Therefore, we, the undersigned, request that the Canadian Parliament and government:

  • Establish measures to stop the Chinese regime's mass murder of innocent people for their organs, including but not limited to introducing Canadian legislation to ban organ tourism and criminalize those involved;
  • Take every opportunity to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant

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.

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.

The promotion of human rights is a core component of Canada's constructive engagement in the world and our government is committed to do more. Canadian human rights efforts focus on advancing the rights of women and children, LGBTI persons, Indigenous peoples and human rights defenders; freedom of expression, including Internet freedom and civil society space; freedom of religion or belief; the abolition of the death penalty; as well as country-specific issues in countries where human rights violations and abuses are particularly egregious.

To this end, the Government of Canada regularly engages with a diverse range of civil society organisations, 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. And most recently in August 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs raised the human rights concerns with his Chinese counterpart during a bilateral meeting in Rome.

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. Most recently, at the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (October 6, 2020), Canada co-signed, along with 38 other countries, a joint statement on the human rights situations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

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. On October 27, 2020, in a statement on International Religious Freedom Day, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated concerns over the ongoing persecution of faith and belief communities in China, including Falun Gong practitioners.

The Government of Canada remains committed to combating all forms of human trafficking, including for the purposes of organ removal. The Government of Canada is actively engaged with other states, including China, to advocate and advance the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime’s Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children which promotes cooperation to more effectively prevent and combat trafficking in persons, including for the purposes of organ removal. Addressing the illegal organ trade is complex and requires international cooperation. 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 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 Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable David Lametti

Our government was proud to support former Private Member’s Bill C-350, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking and transplanting human organs and other body parts), and former Senate Public Bill S-240, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs), in the previous Parliament. We look forward to working with all parties on similar legislative proposals, including Senate Public Bill S-204, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs), which was introduced in the Senate on September 30, 2020.

Combatting human organ trafficking is a complex issue that involves both legislative and policy responses. In Canada, organ transplantation and donation is governed by a comprehensive legislative framework at both the federal and provincial/territorial level, encompassing health and criminal law.

Presented to the House of Commons
Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan)
April 16, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00822)
Government response tabled
May 31, 2021
Photo - Garnett Genuis
Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan
Conservative Caucus
Alberta

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

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